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The energy intake of a human being is the only one among the nutrients that cannot in the short run be renounced without putting at immediate risk the possibility of survival itself. A lack of other nutrients increases susceptibility to infections and slows cognitive development and growth, contributing to poorer school performance and reduced work productivity. These effects are largely irreversible and long term, particularly when they occur at a young age. For these reasons, the IRMAs computation takes the content of Energy as a benchmark to compare with the other nutrients' content. For the calculation of IRMAs, we start with the IRMA values for each nutrient. IRMA of a nutrient counts the number of average individuals that could potentially be satisfied by the nutrient contained in a ton of food aid.
IRMA, IRMAs and IRMAt provide only information on their 'nutritional potential' of meeting average requirements.
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