15 Nov Interesting Facts About Malnutrition and The Best Solution to Avoid It
Malnutrition indicates to deficiencies, excesses, or imbalance in a person’s intake of energy and/ or nutrients. There are 3 wide groups based on the term of malnutrition conditions:
- Undernutrition which consist of wasting (low weight-for-height), stunting (low height-for age), and underweight (low weight-for-age)
- Micronutrient which conclude the imperfection of micronutrient or surplus
- Overweight which consist of obesity and diet-related incommunicable diseases such as diabetes, stroke, cancers, and heart disease.
Different Forms of Malnutrition
There are 4 broad subtypes of malnutrition: weight loss, stunted growth, underweight, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Malnutrition makes children particularly vulnerable to disease and death.
Low weight for height is called wasting. It usually indicates a recent severe weight loss because a person did not have enough food to eat and/or they had an infectious disease, such as diarrhea, which caused them to lose weight. Young children with moderate or severe weight loss have an increased risk of death, but treatment is possible.
Low height for age is called stunting. It is the result of long-term or repeated malnutrition, and is usually related to poor socioeconomic conditions, poor maternal health and nutrition, frequent illness, and/or improper early feeding and care of infants and young children. Developmental delay prevents children from realizing their physical and cognitive potential.
Malnutrition related to micronutrients
Insufficient intake of vitamins and minerals is often referred to as micronutrients and can also be grouped together. Micronutrients enable the body to produce enzymes, hormones and other substances essential for normal growth and development.
Iodine, vitamin A and iron are the most important in global public health; their deficiency poses a major threat to the health and development of the world’s population, especially children and pregnant women in low-income countries.
Overweight and obesity
Overweight and obesity mean that a person is too heavy for his or her height. Abnormal or excessive fat accumulation can damage health.
Body mass index is a body mass index for height, often used to classify overweight and obesity. It is defined as a person’s weight (kg) divided by the square (kg/m2) of his/her height (m). In adults, overweight is defined as a BMI of 25 or higher, while obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or higher.
Overweight and obesity are caused by an imbalance between energy expended (too much) and energy expended (too little). Globally, people are eating foods and beverages with higher energy density (high in sugar and fat) and reducing physical activity.
Diet-related non-communicable diseases Diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCD) include cardiovascular diseases (such as heart attacks and strokes, which are usually related to high blood pressure), certain cancers, and diabetes. Unhealthy diet and malnutrition are the top risk factors for these diseases worldwide.
In general, here are the signs which leads to malnutrition:
- Lose interest in food or drink
- Exhaustion and Irascibility
- Lack of concentration
- Constantly feeling cold
- Have low spirits
- Experience fat, muscle mass, and body tissue deficit
- Get higher chance of getting sick and complication after surgery
There might be possibility of slight different signs for children:
- Difficulty to gain body weight and growth
- Exhaustion and lack of spirit
- Irascibility and Worry
- Backward behavioral and intellectual growth
Malnutrition can obtain from some reasons. Here are the possible causes in details:
- Low food consumption. This probably happen due to lack of food availability or have difficulty to eating or absorbing nutrients
- Mental health situation. Malnutrition can affect people who suffer from depression, schizophrenia, dementia, etc.
- Social and mobility issues. Some factors which can affect someone’s eating habits may lead to malnutrition consist of: having difficulty to draw up meals, limited skills in cooking, not having enough money to spend on food.
To avoid malnutrition, people need to consume enough nutrients from many different types of foods.
Young children, older adults, and people with chronic sickness may need extra care to secure that they get enough nutrients.
Everyone who appears with signs of malnutrition or undernutrition should see a doctor for further diagnosis and treatment.