What Is Nutrition?

by Arpita Wadhawan

Nutrition is one of the most commonly used word but its meaning is not clearly understood by many. The word nutrition has been derived from the Latin word “nutrire” which means to feed or nourish. Nutrition is the nourishment obtained from food consumed which provides us with energy. It has also been defined as “a nourishing or being nourished; esp., the series of processes by which an organism takes in and assimilates food for promoting growth and replacing worn or injured tissues”.

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The biological definition of nutrition states that it is the organic process by which an organism assimilates food and uses it for growth and maintenance. It is the science that deals with food and nourishment, especially in humans.

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The World Health Organization has defined nutrition as “the intake of food, considered in relation to the body’s dietary needs. Good nutrition – an adequate, well balanced diet combined with regular physical activity – is a cornerstone of good health. Poor nutrition can lead to reduced immunity, increased susceptibility to disease, impaired physical and mental development, and reduced productivity.” WHO has a singular vision – a world free from all forms of malnutrition where all people achieve health and well-being. Their mission is to “work with member stated and partners to ensure universal access to effective nutrition actions and healthy and sustainable diets.”


The Cambridge dictionary defines nutrition as “the substances that you take into your body as food and the way that they influence your health; the process of taking in and using food, or the scientific study of this.”

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Collins defines nutrition as “the process of taking food into the body and absorbing the nutrients in those foods.”

Webster defines nutrition as “the act or process of nourishing or being nourished, specifically: the sum of the processes by which an animal or plant takes in and utilizes food substances or foods that are necessary for human nutrition.”

The medical definition of nutrition defines it as “The process of taking in food and using it for growth, metabolism, and repair. Nutritional stages are ingestion, digestion, absorption, transport, assimilation, and excretion. And a nourishing substance, such as nutritional solutions delivered to hospitalized patients via an IV or IG tube.”

Whichever definition you use to define and describe nutrition it is essential to understand its importance for the good health and well-being of individual.

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