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ABSTRACT

This article reviews nutrition-related issues affecting women and their reproductive health. Health care providers must be able to perform a basic nutritional assessment to identify risk factors and develop a plan of care to reduce those risk factors and improve health. Guidelines are provided to assist in performing a nutritional status assessment. Nutritional assessment of women of reproductive age should identify factors that may affect fertility, periconceptional health, and pregnancy outcome. Recommendations are provided to assist the health care provider in counseling women regarding the relationship of food choices and exercise to health, fitness, and optimal bodily function. Controversies surrounding the effect of micro-nutrient deficits and excesses on reproduction and correction for these imbalances are discussed. Women should be encouraged to initiate dietary and other lifestyle changes to allow for optimal reproductive outcomes.