Malnutrition is a condition when the individual’s body is not getting enough nutrients. This can be due to an inadequate or an unbalanced diet. It can also be due to health problems such as difficulty in digestion, problem of food absorption or injury to the spleen and stomach.
Malnutrition can also occur due to a lack of a single vitamin in the diet. Other condition is when the diet is fine but the body is unable to absorb one or more nutrients available in the food.
The word ‘Kwashiorkor’ has been used to describe ‘disease of the displaced child’. This word was first used in connection with Ghana in 1930. This is a serious form of malnutrition and is caused due to deficiency in protein intake. This problem is observed mainly in developing countries. This is the result of shortage of food supply due to social and political unrest, drought and famine. There is lack of protein in their diet as their food mainly consists of starches and vegetables with hardly any meat and animal products. A lack of understanding due to poor education adds do their problems. Requirement of a balanced diet is never understood in many of the underdeveloped countries. Infections and other diseases further complicate the issue.
Insufficient calorie and protein intake give rise to certain abnormality in physical characteristics. Failure to gain weight, stunted growth, edema, swollen abdomen, diarrhea, skin peeling, white spots on the skin, reduced muscle mass are all symptoms associated with malnutrition. There are mental conditions such as lethargy, apathy and irritability that are associated with such cases.
sWhen malnutrition is mild it may not show any symptoms but when it becomes severe at least some of them will be visible.
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