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Adolescence Period between 10-18 years of age when children are growing into adulthood.

AIDS Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. A group of diseases caused by HIV.

Anaemia A condition in a person who has a low haemoglobin or haematocrit level. Iron deficiency is the commonest cause. Lack of folate, vitamin B12, vitamin A and other nutrients can be additional nutritional causes. Malaria, hookworm infection, other infections (such as HIV/AIDS), heavy bleeding and sickle-cell disease also cause anaemia.

Body Mass Index (BMI) Measure of thinness or fatness in adults. BMI = weight (kg) divided by height (m)2 (see Topic 11). Normal weight is BMI 18.5-24.9 (see obesity, overweight, below).

Breastmilk substitute Any food used as a partial or total replacement for breastmilk.

Complementary feeding Nourishment of an infant with foods in addition to breastmilk or breastmilk substitutes.

Exclusive breastfeeding Nourishment of an infant only with breastmilk from the mother or a wet nurse, or with expressed breastmilk, and with no other liquids or solids except drops or syrups consisting of vitamins, mineral supplements or medicines.

Family food security A situation that exists when a family has sufficient safe and nutritious food throughout the year so that all members can meet their dietary needs and food preferences and have active and healthy lives.

Fortified foods Foods with nutrients added to improve their nutritional value. Examples include salt fortified with iodine, and B-group vitamins and iron added to milled cereals.

Healthy, balanced diet A diet that provides an adequate amount and variety of foods to cover a person’s energy and nutrient needs.

HIV Human immunodeficiency virus.

Immune system All the mechanisms that defend the body against harmful external agents, particularly viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites.

Iron deficiency A low level of iron in the blood and other tissues that keeps the body from working properly. It occurs when a person has used up the body’s iron stores, and absorbs too little iron from food to cover needs. Iron deficiency is more widespread than anaemia. It is common where the amount of iron in the diet is low, and/or where iron is in a form that is poorly absorbed (i.e. the type of iron found mainly in plant foods).

Macronutrients Nutrients (such as carbohydrates, fats and proteins) required by the body in large amounts.

Malnutrition An abnormal physiological condition caused by deficiencies, excesses or imbalance of energy and nutrients.

Micronutrients Nutrients (such as vitamins and minerals) required by the body in very small amounts.

Nutrient Part of the food that is absorbed and used by the body for energy, growth and repair, and protection from disease.

Nutrition The study of foods, diets and food-related behaviours, and how nutrients are used in the body. People also use the term to describe the food intake of a person (e.g. “He should have better nutrition”).

Obesity A condition of being ‘too fat’. In adults it means having a Body Mass Index of 30 and above.

Offal Liver, hearts, kidneys, blood, brains and the other non-meat parts of animals, birds or fish that are edible. The redder the offal, the more iron it contains.

Opportunistic infection An infection with a micro-organism that does not ordinarily cause disease, but that becomes pathogenic in a person whose immune system is impaired as by HIV infection.

Overweight A condition of having a weight that is ‘too high’ in relation to a person’s height. In adults it means having a Body Mass Index of 25-29.9.

People living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) A general term for all people infected with HIV, whether or not they are showing any symptoms of infection.

Replacement feeding Nourishment of a child who is not receiving breastmilk with a diet that provides all the nutrients the child needs. During the first six months of life this should be a breastmilk substitute.

Vitamin A deficiency disorders (VADD) All the physiological disturbances caused by lack of vitamin A, including clinical signs and symptoms.

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