Nutritional assessment is an ancient art, but as a scientific method is newer, due to the slow development of the knowledge of the components of complete nutrition. It is known that in addition to a supply of food, there are a personal internal factors that play an important role in determining the level of nutrition. Consequently, the amount of protein and energy required by each individual is affected by factors such as exercise, digestion, temperature and metabolism. These factors are variable and difficult to control and measure. Therefore resort to methods of assessing nutritional status.
A nutritional assessment is one that evaluates a proper growth and development (somatic, psychological and social), avoiding deficiency states. Needs vary depending on the stage of development and individual genetic and metabolic differences. Good nutrition helps prevent disease and to develop the physical and mental potential. Nutrition is a complex process that includes knowledge of the mechanisms by which living things use and incorporate nutrients to develop and maintain their tissues, and obtain energy needed to perform their functions. Hence, it is necessary, both in health and disease, including the evaluation of nutritional status within a full assessment of the child, since growth is the most reliable indicator of health.