What is malnutrition?

We explain what is malnutrition and what are the consequences of child malnutrition. Also, how to prevent malnutrition.

What is malnutrition?

Malnutrition refers to poor diet , a poor diet in terms of calories, nutrients, protein, iron and other substances necessary for the body. Malnutritions can also be caused by poor absorption of nutrients due to some disease. Malnutrition cases occur more often in underdeveloped countries or in people belonging to lower social classes.

The difference between malnutritions and malnutritions is that malnutritions is caused by a deficiency in the intake of the nutrients that are necessary , while in malnutritions there is a deficiency, an imbalance or excess in the intake of the nutrients that our body needs.

  1. Child malnutrition

Malnutrition in children can begin even in the womb and an extreme case can end in Kwashiorkor (protein insufficiency) or Marasmus (caloric deficit in the diet that causes extreme weakness).

The consequences of child malnutritions, to name a few, are:

  • shorter than normal height,
  • pallor,
  • thinness,
  • slow intellectual development,
  • greater tendency to get diseases,
  • greater chances of being obese as adults,
  • anemia and decalcification in women.

The general symptoms that can be seen are fatigue, weight loss and dizziness .

Other characteristics of children with malnutritions are that they are not animated, usually cry easily, do not show appetite, among others. Children with these characteristics will become adults with certain physical and mental impairments.

Malnutrition can be detected by analysis of blood and seeing the normal height and weight for age. There is currently a growth rate created by WHO that establishes growth that would be normal for children up to five years of age. Those who follow this pattern have a healthy and normal growth.

There is talk of chronic malnutritions in infants, children or adolescents when there is a delay in growth that is expected for an age. This type of malnutrition can be moderate or severe, depending on the degree that has been registered. This malnutritions also speaks of a certain socio-economic level , since it is closely linked to poverty.

According to the organization ‘s nonprofit organization, Doctors Without Borders each year between three and five million children under six years of age die from malnutrition.

  1. How to prevent malnutrition?

A good varied and nutritious diet can prevent malnutrition.

Geographically speaking, malnutrition has areas of preference. The most affected regions in the world are Latin America, Africa (not counting South Africa), the Middle East, Asia (with the exception of Japan and Russia) and the countries of Oceania (minus New Zealand and Australia).

The only way to prevent malnutrition is a good , varied and nutritious diet .  This should include cereals, fruits and vegetables, foods of animal origin, such as meat, chicken, eggs, dairy, and so on.

When the woman begins a pregnancy, she should be well nourished and accumulate reserves, and while pregnant she should try to eat well throughout the day , respecting the meal times and making snacks.

As far as babies under six months are concerned, they should only consume breast milk. Food must be prepared with the highest possible hygiene standards, not only having clean the instruments to be used, but also the place and hands that handle food. Finally, pregnant mothers and children should regularly visit a doctor.

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