Malnutrition & Undernutrition

Think back on everything you have eaten over the last 24 hours. Do you think that your diet is well balanced and that you are getting the appropriate nutrients you need? Proper nutrition is very important to maintaining a healthy body and mind. The body requires over 40 essential nutrients to function properly, including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, protein and carbohydrates. In addition to the quality of nutrients consumed, the body must also maintain a certain quantity of food to remain healthy. Humans must consume a certain amount of calories each day in order to maintain a productive and energetic lifestyle. A large problem facing the human population today is malnutrition. Malnutrition is when a person's diet has an imbalance of the essential nutrients that the body needs to remain healthy. This imbalance in nutrients can weaken the person's immune system and body and make them more susceptible to illnesses. Malnutrition can also cause delays in a child's physical and mental development. Malnutrition is often divided into two different types, which are under-nutrition and over-nutrition. These two different types of malnutrition vary by what the person is consuming, how it is influencing their body and the prevalence in certain regions of the world.

When most people think of malnutrition, they often think of someone who is suffering from under-nutrition. Under-nutrition occurs when a person consumes a diet that does not meet the necessary requirements for the amount of essential nutrients or calories a person needs to remain healthy. This type of malnutrition can occur when people are not eating enough food, or when the food they are eating does not contain well-balanced nutrients. The World Health Organization estimates that one out of every three people is suffering from a deficiency in one or more essential nutrients. The symptoms associated with under-nutrition vary by deficiency, but all deficiencies will eventually cause permanent harm to the body. Throughout the world, there are three common deficiencies that people suffer from. Lack of vitamin A in the diet is a very large problem worldwide and results in many cases of blindness in children each year. A deficiency in iron can cause a person to become anaemic, which can result in fatigue, increased risk of infection and increased risk of haemorrhaging during childbirth. Iodine deficiency is also very common, with one-third of the human population suffering from a lack of iodine. Iodine is important for proper functioning of the thyroid gland, which is responsible for producing hormones that manage the body's metabolic rate. A lack of iodine can cause stunted growth, mental delays and the creation of goitres, which are when the thyroid glands at the base of the neck become swollen.

  • •Urban malnutrition
  • •Overnutrition
  • •Protein energy malnutrition
  • •Causes of malnutrition
  • •Effects of malnutrition
  • •Malnutrition in children
  • •Malnutrition in women & teenagers
  • •Malnutrition- health risks & syndromes

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