WHAT IS MALNUTRITION?
poor nutrition due to an insufficient, poorly
balanced diet, faulty digestion or poor utilization
of foods. (This can result in the inability to
Malnutrition is not only insufficient intake of
nutrients. It can occur when an individual is
getting excessive nutrients as well.
Human beings need a wide
variety of nutrients to supply
essential energy. Do you
know what nutrients we
If any one of these nutrients
is deficient in a person's diet,
he/she may suffer from
Malnutrition also occurs when there is an
imbalance of energy and protein in an
individual’s diet. The body may become
unable to absorb the nutrients it requires
to function properly.
*For example, if a child is suffering from energy
and protein malnutrition, they will most likely
have deficiencies in iron, calcium, and other
vitamins and minerals.
WHO IS AFFECTED BY
Individuals who are dependent on others for
their nourishment. (infants, children, the
Mentally disabled or ill because they are not
aware of what to eat.
People who are suffering from tuberculosis,
eating disorders, HIV/AIDS, cancer, or who
have undergone surgical procedures are
susceptible to interferences with appetite or
food uptake which can lead to malnutrition.
BUT DO YOU KNOW THE NUMBER
ONE FACTOR THAT CAUSES
Nearly 3 billion people in the world are living on less
than $1 a day. They have little access to their basic needs,
including adequate nutrition to help their bodies stay in
balance. Poverty may also prevent individuals from
accessing education, which can lead to misinformation
about adequate nutrition.
Effects of malnutrition
Nutritional deficiencies can contribute to
various diseases which can be found
everywhere, but most often go without
cures/treatment in Less Developed
Kwashiokor, which means “disease of the displaced
child” in the Ga language of Ghana is a protein deficiency
which results is characterized by inability to gain weight,
diarrhea, lethargy and a swollen belly. Kwashiokor can
lead to comatose as well as death.
Similarly, Marasmus is a disease resulting from protein
deficiency which affects chidlren early in life (typically in
the 1st year) slowing growth, decreasing weight and
hindering proper development.
Nutrition supplements, rehydration and education all
can all serve to cure and prevent these diseases.
Beriberi is a thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency which is
common in South East Asia where many diets consist
solely of white rice.
Beriberi affects the proper functioning of the nervous
system as well as the circulatory system and heart.
Pregnancy, breast feeding mothers and those who are ill
with fever may have a heightened dependency on
thiamine and may develop a deficiency.
Thiamine is best acquired through foods such as pork,
beef and whole grain (unrefined) breads and grains.
Pellagra ”rough skin” is a niacin (or
Tryptophan) deficiency which often results
in the “3 Ds”; diarrhea, demetia and
The large scale consumption of corn has
resulted in many cases of pellagra because
corn is poorly absorbed in the body. The
best sources of Niacin are broccoli, eggs,
dates, beef, salmon, seeds and peanuts.
Scurvy is a disease which is born of
Vitamin C deficiency. It is characterized by
bleeding around hair follicles, anemia and
Scurvy may occur in those who consume
large amounts of junk foods, smokers (as
smoking depletes Vitamin C) and those
who don’t have proper access to sources of
vitamin C. Namely, the poor.
Vitamin D deficiencies may result in “Rickets”
which is a lack of proper calcium characterized
by poorly developed and deformed bones.
Vitamin D can be best found in beef products
(especially cows milk) but is very low in breast
milk. Thus, women in developing countries are
contributing to this disease if their babies sole
source of nourishment is breast milk.