Due to the scarcity of nourishing foods and the general lack of accessibility, women nutrition continues to be a concerning issue. Because of the misunderstandings and false assumptions, people in this scenario are making things worse by not using readily available food. Emphasis must be placed on making the most of the dietary options available and removing any barriers in the way of improving women’s nutritional health. Several misunderstandings and false ideas about food are having an impact on women nutrition.
In this blog, I will discuss the common misconceptions prevalent in our society regarding women’s nutrition. I have reviewed some research articles highlighting the misconception about women’s nutrition. The woman’s health deteriorates due to misconceptions impeding effective utilization of the food supply, which causes her to fall behind in this cutthroat environment. Some common misunderstandings include the following:
- a woman should feed her family first,
- women should avoid specific foods during pregnancy and breastfeeding,
- girls require less food than boys,
- sick females require less nourishment than healthy people, and
- pregnant women should eat less often.
Why do women require extra nutrition?
Women, in particular, need extra nutrition because their bodies undergo numerous changes at every stage of life. As a result, it is vital to ingest essential nutrients at every life stage. However, compared to any other health issue, malnutrition affects women more frequently than any other problem. It can result in fatigue, weakness, incapacitating conditions, and poor health. Women’s economic empowerment is strengthened by improving their health.
In young women, the prevalence of anemia was estimated to have increased from 54.1% in the 2015-2016 survey (NFHS-4) to 59.1% between the 2019 and 2021 survey (NFHS-5). There are many associated impacts of anemia on women’s health, i.e., weakness, skin discoloration, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, chest discomfort, headache, etc. I think the increase in anemia count by 5% is a significant concern in a developing country like India. The trend shows how important are these misconceptions about women’s nutrition. Let’s take a look at those misconceptions.
A woman should feed her family first:
It is untrue that women should prioritize providing for their families over anything else which hits women nutrition a lot. A lady may occasionally think she should wait to eat until the rest of the family has finished. In this circumstance, she can only consume the leftovers and does not receive the same meal as the other family members, which is an unhealthy habit. Additionally, it could be risky during pregnancy or after childbirth.
Girls require less food compared to boys:
Contrary to popular belief, girls do not require less food than boys. Some individuals believe that guys require more food. But this is false; in most communities, women, and girls strive as hard as men and boys to succeed. They must be equally healthy for this reason. Healthy girls who are nourished well as children will grow up to struggle less in school or work and live healthier lives.
Sick women require less food than healthy ones:
It is untrue that a sick person requires less nourishment than a healthy one. A healthy diet not only wards off illnesses but also accelerates the recovery of the ill. Foods that are nutritious for healthy people are typically also healthful for sick ones. Therefore, the notion that sick women requires less food is a major women nutrition misconception.
Less frequent eating when pregnant:
One of the most widespread dietary misconceptions is that women should eat twice the amount of food for themselves and their babies throughout pregnancy. This misconception makes pregnant women eat more food at a single time and reduces their hunger, depriving them of consuming the right amount of nutrients throughout the day. It is not a good practice; pregnant women should eat less but more frequently throughout to maintain good nourishment for the baby’s development.
Only calcium is necessary for women to avoid osteoporosis:
Women nutrition is a crucial aspect of maintaining overall health, and both calcium and vitamin D play vital roles in this regard. While most medical professional believes that calcium is essential for our body to maintain healthy bone density. But vitamin D is even more essential for our body to absorb and utilize calcium in our body. You cannot fully benefit from a calcium-rich diet when you are vitamin D deficient.
We live in a diverse culture, and it doesn’t take long for people to accept the misconceptions in their daily routines. But the extent of harm these misconceptions can have in our lives is extreme. I am not saying that we shouldn’t believe in the teaching of our older generation. But believing everything the older generation has followed is not always true as there can be a gap while passing down the information from one generation to another.
Sometimes misconceptions arise when some practices become common in society if our neighbours are following some rules, we start following them unknowingly. Therefore, before believing in any kind of practice, we should research them thoroughly. Otherwise, the proliferation of that misconception in society becomes the daily normal and impacts human beings without their knowledge.
I am glad to share these common misconceptions about women’s nutrition with the help of this blog. I hope you have learned something. In case you have any queries, you can comment below in the query section.
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Kulkarni et al., “Prevalence of Iron Deficiency and its Sociodemographic Patterning in Indian Children and Adolescents: Findings from the Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey 2016-18”. The Journal of nutrition, 151, 8 (2021): 2422–2434. https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxab145
Kumar, I., Gautam M. “Determinants of Dietary Diversity Score for the Rural Households of Uttar Pradesh State”. Int J Food Nutr Diet. Vol. 10, 1 (2022): 9–16. DOI: