What You Didn’t Know About Malnutrition

Malnutrition is a condition that results from eating a diet in which one or more nutrients are either not enough, are too much or are not balanced such that the diet causes health problems.

Such nutrients include protein, carbohydrates, vitamins or minerals

Not getting enough nutrients is called under nutrition or undernourishment while too much is called over nutrition.

Forms of malnutrition

1. Under nutrition

This is a deficiency of calories or of one or more essential nutrients required to meet an individual’s needs in order to maintain good health.

Under nutrition can lead to any of the following conditions;

  • Wasting (low weight-for-height) – Wasting or thinness indicates in most cases a recent and severe process of weight loss, which is often associated with acute starvation
  • Stunting (low height-for-age) – impaired growth and development that children experience from poor nutrition. Stunting generally occurs before age two, and effects are largely irreversible.
  • Underweight – an underweight person is anyone whose body weight is considered too low to be healthy.

2. Nutrients deficiency

This is caused by inadequate intake of vitamins and minerals. Deficiency in Iodine, vitamin A, and iron represents a major threat to the health and development of populations worldwide, particularly children and pregnant women.

3. Over nutrition 

This leads to one being overweight and obese. Such abnormal or excessive fat accumulation can impair your health.

4. Diet related on communicable diseases

These includes diabetes, certain cancers, cardiovascular diseases (such as heart attacks and stroke, and often linked with high blood pressure)

Unless specifically mentioned otherwise, the term malnutrition refers to under nutrition for the remainder of this article.

Causes of malnutrition

  1. Poor diet
  2. Starvation
  3. Digestive disorders and stomach conditions that cause problems in absorbing nutrients from food.
  4. Diseases such as tuberculosis, measles, and diarrhea
  5. Alcoholism
  6. Lack of breastfeeding

Signs of malnutrition

  1. Lack of appetite or interest in food or drink
  2. Tiredness and irritability
  3. Inability to concentrate
  4. Always feeling cold
  5. Loss of fat, muscle mass, and body tissue
  6. Higher risk of getting sick and taking longer to heal
  7. Longer healing time for wounds


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