Topic 8 – Body Health – Science and Technology Grade Seven (VII)

Topic 8 – Body Health – Science and Technology Grade Seven (VII)

Topic 8 – Body Health – Science and Technology Grade Seven (VII)

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The concept of a balanced diet

Think: Characteristics of a person with good health

Good health is a state of the body to be physically and mentally well. One of the things that contribute to good health is eating a balanced diet.

A balanced diet is a meal which contains the right proportion of different groups of food nutrients. This meal includes all major groups of food which are proteins, carbohydrates, fats and oils, vitamins and minerals.

Protein-rich foods include meat, mushroom, fish, milk, beans and peas. The function of proteins is to build up the body and make it grow. This type of food is also responsible for building new cells to replace the old or dead cells.

Carbohydrate foods such as cassava, potatoes, rice, yams, bread and banana give heat and energy to the body. These food types enable the body to perform various activities such as playing, tilling, walking, and running. Likewise, foods which contain fats and oil, such as coconut, groundnuts, sunflowers, and butter, give the body heat and energy.

Vitamin-rich foods are vegetables and fruits, such as pawpaws, oranges, avocado, apples, cabbages, spinach, and carrots. These foods enable the body to protect itself from various diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, flu, diarrhoea, and recurring fevers. Cabbages, carrots, eggplants, and green vegetables are some examples of foods rich in minerals. These minerals are calcium and phosphorous. They help to build and strengthen body muscles, bones and teeth.

The body also needs enough water to perform its functions properly. Therefore water should be part of the meal. Water contains several minerals such as sodium, potassium, iron, calcium and magnesium.

These minerals help various body systems to perform their functions properly. Water helps in regulating body temperature, digesting of food, and absorbing of nutrients from the food. It also helps the body to remove toxins and body wastes.

Nutritional requirements for different groups of people Nutritional requirements vary depending on the age of people, activities they do, and health status. These groups include children under five years old, youths, manual workers, sedentary workers, pregnant women, sick people, and the elderly.

Meals for children under five years old

Children of this age are normally at risk of getting malnutrition and various diseases if they are not given foods containing enough nutrients. This is because their immunity is weaker than that of most adults.

A balanced diet for children includes a mixture of foods with various nutrients to help them obtain necessary requirements for their bodies. These nutrients enable them to grow well both mentally and physically.

Eating a balanced diet enables children to recognise the taste of various foods, hence develop skills and eating habits that will last for their lifetime.

This group needs to be given a balanced meal that contains soft foods, which they can manage to eat. Such children should be given foods containing large amounts of proteins since they are at the stage of rapid growth.

The foods include milk, meat, fish, beans, peas, cowpeas, and eggs. Milk is the main food for young children, and it is the main source of proteins. Milk helps to build the child’s body, strengthen its immunity, and develop the brain.

It is also one of the best sources of calcium and vitamins A and D, which help to build and strengthen the child’s bones, teeth, eyes, muscles and the brain.

Figure 1: A meal for a child

During this period, children like to play different kinds of games. Therefore, they should be given enough food rich in carbohydrates to provide their bodies with energy. Children should be given enough foods which contain vitamins and minerals as shown in Figure
1. These foods will enable their bodies to protect themselves from different types of diseases

Meal for youths

A youth is a person aged between 18 to 35 years old. During this period, the body continues to grow rapidly; thus, the youth needs a meal which contains enough nutrients which build, protect and give the body heat and energy.

At this age, the youth is involved in various activities such as sport, farming, and prolonged studying. Therefore, it is important for the youth’s meal to contain sufficient amounts of nutrients and in the right proportions of all types of foods. This will enable the youths to do their activities in good health. See Figure 2.

Meal for manual workers

People who are involved in manual jobs include porters, wheelbarrow and trolley pushers, auto mechanic or automotive technicians, and masons. People in this group need to eat a balanced diet just like other groups.

They should eat a sufficient amount of food containing carbohydrates and proteins and a small amount of fats to give their bodies enough energy to perform heavy work.

They should also drink enough water to facilitate digestion of food to give the body energy and to replenish the lost water through sweating. See Figure 3.

Meal for sedentary workers

Sedentary workers are a group of people who are doing jobs which do not require a lot of energy. This group includes clerks, secretaries, librarians, and other officials. These people need a small amount of carbohydrates and fats. They often spend much of their time sitting while doing their duties.

People in this group need to eat a balanced diet containing a high amount of fruits and fresh green vegetables as shown in Figure 4. Fruits and fresh green vegetables reduce, regulate and maintain the body weight.

These foods help sedentary workers to avoid the risk of being overweight and obese. Fruits and vegetables also help to reduce the risk of getting diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

Meal for pregnant women

Pregnant women need a balanced diet, which contains sufficient nutrients to improve their health and of the developing child. See Figure 5. They should eat meals which contain enough protein to support the development of the foetus. If the pregnant woman is not given meals which contain enough nutrients, there is a risk of giving birth to a child with health problems.

Example of these problem are low weight, mental retardation, and anaemia. They should also eat foods which contain enough vitamins and minerals to prevent them from various diseases. These foods will enable the muscles and bones of the foetus to develop well. Normally, every meal eaten by a pregnant woman can either positively or negatively affect the development of the child.

Minerals like iron and vitamins such as folic acid are important to ensure proper growth of the foetus. They also ensure that the mother has enough blood for safe delivery. For example, if a pregnant woman is deprived of essential minerals and vitamins in her diet, she can give birth to a child with defects in the muscles, bones, and the brain.

Meal for patients

A person who cares for a patient should ensure that the patient is always given a balanced meal, because it helps to improve the body immunity against diseases. The meal also helps patients to gain energy and other essential nutrients. When a person is sick, he or she loses appetite and the ability to eat.

Therefore, the patient should be given a small amount of food several times in a day. Patients should be given meals rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals to replace the cells and tissues destroyed by various diseases. These foods will also help the patient to strengthen his/her muscles, bones, and body immunity to prevent him/her from further disease attack.

Dietary requirements for patients vary depending on the type of disease. Therefore, a balanced meal is given based on the type of disease and advice given by the medical doctor.

For example, an anaemic person should also eat a meal with plenty of fresh green vegetables. The patient should also eat foods rich in iron such as meat, liver and fish to increase the ability of the body to produce red blood cells.

A patient with high blood pressure should not eat foods with high amounts of salt and fats. Salt increases heart rate to pump blood in the body. Fats narrow blood vessels and surround the heart.

As a result, the heart fails to pump enough blood. Hence, the heart uses a lot of energy to pump enough blood to all parts of the body. This condition results into high blood pressure. A person with low blood pressure should eat foods with the right amount of salt. This is because the sodium found in the salt raises blood pressure.

A diabetic patient needs to reduce carbohydrate intake because such intake raises sugar level. Generally, patients are supposed to eat a balanced diet following advice from health experts.

Meal for elders

This is a group of people whose bodies have reached the limit of growth. Elders should eat meals which are rich in vitamins to protect them from recurring diseases. This is because, during this period, their body immunity is reduced. They should also eat foods rich in minerals to strengthen their bones, eyes, and body muscles.

They should also eat small amounts of carbohydrates. This will help them get energy to perform simple work and avoid the risk of being obese. Elders are also required to eat foods rich in proteins. These foods will help them to replace dead cells and tissues.

The bodies of older people are weak; thus, they need close monitoring and care. Most of them have a limited ability to eat. Therefore, they should be regularly given small amounts of food in a day to help their bodies get the required amount of nutrients.

Physical exercise for various groups of people

Physical exercise is important for building good health. The ability and capacity to exercise vary based on age, work, and the health status.

Physical exercise for children under five years old

Normally, children are always active when they are healthy. Therefore, they do not need specific types of physical exercise since they are always busy with various activities. They like to draw and create various objects which help them to build their creativity. Children like to play with various objects such as dolls.

They also like to transfer things from one place to another. They like to throw or catch a ball, climb chairs and ride bicycles as shown in Figure 6. They also like to jump and run. Such physical exercise helps them to build and improve their muscles and enables them to master various skills in their lifetime.

Physical exercise for youths

Youths can do various types of physical exercise without getting serious side effects. They can play various games such as football, hurdles, and running. Some of these games are shown in Figures 7 and 8. Youths can do manual work such as farming, masonry, and lifting heavy loads. This is because their muscles and bones are fully developed.

Physical exercise for sedentary workers

Sedentary workers are supposed to do physical exercise to make their bodies active. This group is at risk of getting diseases such as high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, and bone diseases.

Physical exercise helps them to reduce the risk of getting such diseases. It also improves their body immunity, muscles, bones, and reduces the risk of getting obese. The types of physical exercise that can be done by this group include rope skipping, running, walking and others. Figure 9 shows some of these exercises.


Physical exercise for pregnant women

A pregnant woman should do light physical exercise such as walking as shown in Figure 10. Other types of physical exercise that can be done include stretching the neck and arm muscles.

A pregnant woman should seek medical advice before exercising to avoid affecting the developing unborn child. Exercising helps the pregnant woman to strengthen her muscles and control body weight, thus, enabling her to have easy delivery. It also makes a pregnant woman to feel comfortable and relieve fatigue.

Physical exercise for elders

Elders need to do light physical exercise that will help them strengthen their muscles and bones. Such exercise includes walking, stretching their body parts, and doing simple activities, which can be managed by their bodies as shown in Figure 11. Exercise help elders to improve blood circulation, control body weight, and activate their bodies.

Advantages of doing physical exercise

It is recommended to do physical exercise for at least 30 minutes everyday.
Doing physical exercise regularly help

(a) to have good health;

(b) to strengthen the functioning of various body systems such as circulatory, digestive, and excretory systems;

(c) to strengthen body immunity against diseases;

(d) to reduce the risk of getting diseases such as high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis;

(e) to prevent stress and depression;

(f) to activate the brain and refresh the body; and

(g) to strengthen relationship with other people.

Negative effects of not doing physical exercise

Failure to do physical exercise can result into the following:

(a) Some of the body systems and the brain will not function properly, and the body may fail to act on emergencies;

(b) Body immunity can be affected; hence, a person will be at risk of getting various diseases;

(c) Increase in body weight which may make a person obese and deform his or her body shape;

(d) Getting weight related diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart problems;

(e) Reducing thinking capacity and quick decision making; and

(f) Getting depression and general weakness of muscles and bones.

Topic 7 – Body Health – Science and Technology Grade Seven (VII)


Balanced diet – a meal that contains the main food groups

Clerk – a person whose job involves keeping records or performing general office duties

Depression – feeling of severe dejection or mood disorder that causes distressing symptoms that affect how you feel or think

Manual worker – a person whose job involves working with hands


The Writer