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nutrient density

The ratio derived by dividing a food's nutrient content by its calorie content. When its contribution to our need for that nutrient exceeds its contribution to our calorie need, the food is considered to have a favorable nutrient density.

energy density

A comparison of the calorie (kcal) content of a food with the weight of the food. An energy-dense food is high in calories but weighs very little (e.g., potato chips), whereas a food low in energy density has few calories but weighs a lot such as an orange.

nutritional state

The nutritional health of a person as determined by anthropometric measurements (height, weight, circumferences, and so on), biochemical measurements of nutrients or their by-products in blood and urine, a clinical (physical) examination, a dietary analysis, and economic evaluation; also called nutritional status


Failing health that results from long standing dietary practices that do not coincide with nutritional needs.


A state in which nutritional intake greatly exceeds the body's needs.


Failing health that results from long standing dietary intake that is not enough to meet nutritional needs.


A change in health status noted by the person with the problem, such as stomach pain.


Stage of disease or disorder not severe enough to produce symptoms that can be detected or diagnosed.

anthropometric assessment

Measurement of body weight and the lengths, circumferences, and thickness of parts of the body.

biochemical assessment

Measurement of biochemical functions (e.g. concentrations of nutrient by products or enzyme activities in the blood or urine) related to a nutrient's function.

clinical assessment

Examination of general appearance of skin, eyes, and tongue; evidence of rapid hair loss; sense of touch; and ability to cough and walk.

dietary assessment

Estimation of typical food choices relying mostly on the recounting of one's usual intake or a record of one's previous days' intake.

economic assessment

Estimation of the ability of the person to purchase, transport, and cook food. The person's weekly budget for food purchases is also a key factor to consider.

heart attack

Rapid fall in heart function caused by reduced blood flow through the heart's blood vessels. Often part of the heart dies in the process. Technically called a myocardial infarction.

Discretionary Calories

The calories allowed in a diet after the person has met overall nutrition needs. This generally small amount of calories gives individuals the flexibility to consume some foods and beverages that may contain alcohol (eg beer and wine), added sugars (eg soft drinks, candy and desserts), or added fats that are part of moderate or high fat foods (eg many snack foods).

Dietary Guidelines for Americans

General goals for nutrient intakes and diet composition set by the USDA and the US department of Health and Human Services.


Tentative explanations by a scientist to explain a phenomenon.


The deficiency disease that results after a few weeks to months of consuming a diet that lacks Vitamin C; pinpoint sites of bleeding on the skin are an early sign.


The study of how disease rates vary among different population groups.


Erosion of the tissue lining usually in the stomach (gastric ulcer) or the upper small intestine (duodenal ulcer). As a group these are generally referred to as peptic ulcers.


Bacteria, virus, or other organism invisible to the naked eye, some of which cause diseases.

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