Health and Social Care Unit

Table of Content

Food is essential for life, our dietary intake is influenced by many different factors this includes. There are several different conditions which can influence the foods that we eat. For example Celiac Disease, Celiac disease is a disorder caused by a sensitivity to gluten. When the gluten reaches the small intestine, it activates the immune system to attack the intestine lining. Destroying the finger like projections called Villi which are involved in the absorption of the nutrients.

Lactose Intolerance

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This is caused by a lack of lactose. Milk and milk products are the only source of lactose in the diet. When people who are lactose intolerant take in milk and milk products they can experience indigestion, stomach cramps, wind and diarrhoea. They must then adjust their daily intake and or change their diet all together, meaning taking out the dairy all together.

An allergic reaction to food usually happens quickly and the symptoms include itching and swelling of the mouth, lips, skin, vomiting and diarrhoea, dizziness, coughing and streaming of the eyes and nose. Anaphylaxis, or anaphylactic shock is a whole body allergic reaction and can be fatal. People who have food allergies must avoid any food to which they are allergic and replace it with alternatives that make sure they don’t out on essential nutrients.

Some people have restricted movement for feeding, for example they have a physical disability such as a tremor or a spasticity, a weak grip, joint pain which makes it difficult for them to eat and drink independently or they are unable to sit up.  Dietary habits can be affected by lots of things such as meal patterns, snacking, personal tastes and food availability. Meal patterns refer to the way the person takes the food. Some people like to stick to the traditional three meals a day.

Some households may have to eat separately due to parents not being home due to work commitments so the children will either make themselves food or miss dinner time. These days people have busy families where tea is rushed and may not be up to the nutritional standard it should be so the families are not getting the correct nutrients they require. There have been increased levels of ‘grazing’ and this is a pattern of eating between meals and not having a meal and eating other foods which should not maybe be seen as a meal.

Snacking between means is normal behaviour in the UK these days. If the snack is a piece of fruit or something with nutritional value than there is no problem but it the snack consists of being high in fat and sugar than this can be seen as a problem which if continued can lead to obesity. Personal tastes can affect the diet as some people may not feel that eating meat is right, so they will not get the correct nutrients they require. Not everyone will like all foods that are offered to them. Some people have a very fussy apatite and may not like many foods at all.

People who do not eat meat or do not get the correct nutrients must replace these foods with foods of an equal nutritional value. Another influence on the diet is the foods that are available to you. Everyone at some point has had to eat something they wouldn’t usually have chosen because that was all that was in the house at that moment in time. It is very hard for people of an older age and those who are unable to shop for themselves as they become dependent on others to provide them with the foods they need, sometimes they will not get the correct nutrients they need and maybe they will not even have a meal that they enjoy.

It is important that healthy foods are there and available to everyone and should be easy to get hold of. Lifestyle More and more people eat out these days as it is seen as an easier and sometimes cheap way of having a meal. The risk of eating out frequently is the choice of the high fatty foods with excessive amounts of salt and sugar in them, which is fine for occasional treats but not on a regular basis. People who exercise more will have different diets to those who do not exercise. Carbohydrates are very important for athletes as it provides fuel.

Carbohydrate is stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles, and released when needed during exercise. It is easily broken down to provide energy. The other source of energy is fat, but this cannot be converted into energy as quickly as glycogen. Another influence on the diet would be your occupation. It is no surprise that a personal trainer will burn far more calories than an office worker. As people get old they will do less physical activity so if this is the case their energy needs reduce. If they do not reduce their calorie intake they will start to gain weight, which will put strain on ageing joints.

The way people spend there their leisure tie can also influence what they eat. Most people eat differently on holiday and will treat themselves and eat unhealthy fatty foods. Some destinations can pose risks due poor food hygiene, and some parasitic diseases can cause long term health problems. Economic Factors It is proved that a healthy diet costs more that an unhealthy diet. Supermarkets have been criticised for focusing on high – fat, salty and sugary foods when running promotions. The food you are able to eat may depend on how easy it is for you to access shops.

Supermarkets usually provide the best value for money, with a better choice and more competitive prices. Most supermarkets can be accessed by public transport. If you live in a rural location and do not have a car, you may have to shop at a small local shop which can be expensive with a limited range. Depending on where you live and what shops you use you will struggle with the food supply of that shop, they could sell nothing that you need. In developing countries and remote areas there will be much more seasonal variation affecting what people eat.

A big impact on the diet will be the family. The way you eat and what you eat will have been influenced by your parents or guardians. You may not have been directed well in what to eat and will not have that much understanding of the importance of having a healthy meal with plenty of vegetables and the correct nutrients. When the children grow up, depending on their culture they will eat differently, for example a Chinese family living in china will most probably eat different food to a Cornish family.

Some cultures have something called a food ceremony where they will celebrate a baby’s first solid food. Everyone does meal time differently that’s why if you were to go to another person’s house and have a meal it would be somewhat awkward as it would be different to what you were used to. Education A substantial amount of money has been spent on educating the population about healthy eating, and food hygiene, and this education has had a considerable influence over the foods we choose to eat, and how we prepare them. Social policy Legislation, regulations and policies

Matters was a government green paper publishes in 2003, following the death of Victoria Climbie. One of the attended outcomes of Every Child Matters is ‘being healthy’ and the quality of food that children eat is one aspect of this outcome. The outcomes were revised in 2008. The School Food Trust (SFT) was set up by the government in 2005 to improve the nutritional quality of food served in schools and cooking skills of children and their parents. Research carried out by the SFT found that there had been an improvement in schools and cooking skills of children and their parents.

Under the National Minimum Standards for Care homes for Older People, the registered manager is required to ensure that individuals receive a varied, appealing, wholesome and nutritious diet, which is suited to their assessed and recorded requirements. Residents should be offered a choice of three meals a day, at least one of which should be cooked. Drinks and snacks should always be available. Special diets should be catered for, including religious and cultural diets. Diet should be assessed on admission and recorded on the care plan.

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Health and Social Care Unit. (2016, Oct 01). Retrieved from

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