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From The CriticsReviewer: Jude Christopher Sullivan, MS (University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics)
Description: This book is a condensed compilation of centuries of our cumulative understanding of human function in health and disease and the role nutrition assumes in this process. In addition, it strives to endorse an integrated understanding of this body of science and, in turn, promote a positive impact on how one can use this information where it is necessary — ultimately in the care of a practitioner's clients and/or patients. This book is the second edition of a book originally published in 1999.
Purpose: The implied and discussed intent of this book is to skillfully blend many different contributing existing scientific disciplines (e.g. biochemistry, exercise physiology, medicine, etc.). The authors promote their agenda to recognize a new field referred to as "exercise nutrition." It is meticulously prepared in order to describe our basic understanding of the role nutrition has on normal human biology and function, but also strives to describe the many different paths that result in the course of our lives (e.g., aging and resulting osteoporosis) and the decisions we might make to eat and live a certain way (e.g., a healthy athlete vs. one with a disordered eating profile). The authors' efforts are worthwhile and they meet their stated objectives in that they provide the necessary scientific background to augment one's fundamental understanding and then take it one step further by providing very real and necessary practical application points.
Audience: The book is written by pre-eminent experts in the field of nutrition and exercise physiology and it would serve as a useful resource for a diverse group. It provides excellent fundamental information for nutrition, exercise physiology, and normal health required by an undergraduate in virtually any health-related course. Its comprehensive literature review at the end of each chapter serves as an excellent resource to any research scientist. And, there are basic concepts of identification and guidelines that would be useful to a clinical healthcare practitioner.
Features: This is designed to be a "cutting edge" teaching tool, learning tool, and reference resource. It provides such information as the latest Dietary Reference Intakes, normative tables (e.g., standards for overweight and obesity), up-to-date indices for monitoring change in health status (e.g. regional body fat distribution and health risks), as well as expanded chapters addressing the nutritional needs of physically active people and those in sports competition. The authors take steps to build on each previous section in order to develop a logical line of thought that ultimately evolves into practice. Although it is impossible for one to become an expert in a single semester (which is the length of time recommended for completion of this text), it provides a sound template from which a practitioner could work. The additions and modifications to the original publication serve to provide an updated list of resources for reference as well as hands-on ideas and methods to be used for immediate practical application situations. In particular, two companion interactive CD-ROM discs are provided along with technical support. The first disc is a nutritional analysis program which can also be used as a reference of nutrition data as well as a report generator which can be used to assist with client counseling. The second disc is a study guide providing 300 multiple choice and true/false questions along with an annotated answer key. It would be advantageous for the authors to expound on the notion of body composition as a "relatively exact" science. They correctly point out that error does exist with in vivo measurement, but this point is all too frequently glossed over in practice. I would recommend addressing the need for continued validation of currently accepted field modalities (e.g. skinfolds, BIA and Bod Pod) against a multicomponent criterion. The authors make an important point regarding the need for extensive practice in administering such technology. It would also be helpful to emphasize the need to expertly, delicately, and honestly interpret results for an individual such as an obese client on a weight reduction program, or an excessively lean athlete striving to lose additional weight/fat in order to enhance performance. Their use of case studies might be valuable here to provide a basic framework of useful dialogue that could be engaged in by the practitioner.
Assessment: This second edition publication is an improvement over its predecessor. It is a valuable teaching tool for the instructor, learning tool for the student, and information resource for the healthcare provider.