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Effects of Poverty

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  • Feb. 17, 2006
  • 1019 Words
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Poverty is the state of being without the necessities of daily living, and often associated with need, hardship and lack of resources across a wide range of circumstances. Poverty has wide-ranging and often devastating effects. Many of its effects, such as malnutrition and starvation, exposure to infectious diseases and mental illness and dependence to drug, result directly from having too little income or too few resources. As a result of poor nutrition and health problems, infant mortality rates among the poor are higher than average, and life expectancies are lower than average.

Malnutrition is one of the most common effects of poverty. In developing countries, the poorest people cannot obtain adequate calories to develop or maintain their appropriate body weight. Poor children in developing countries often suffer the most, commonly from a deficiency known as protein-energy malnutrition. In this condition, children lack protein in their diets, especially from an insufficient amount of mother's milk. As a result, children who are under nourishment are faced with stunted growth, poor mental development, and high rates of infection. Prolonged malnutrition can lead to starvation, a condition in which the body's tissues and organs deteriorate. Long-term starvation almost always results in death. In addition to caloric malnutrition, most poor children and adults suffer from severe vitamin and mineral deficiencies. These deficiencies can lead to mental disorders, damage to vital organs, and poor vision among many others. Even in the major cities of developed nations, the poor often have unhealthful diets. Resulting in part from a lack of health care and nutritional education and in part from the lower availability and higher cost of better-quality foods, the urban poor tend to eat too much of the wrong kinds of foods. The urban poor commonly eat foods that are fatty or fried, high in sugar and salt, and made of mostly processed carbohydrates. Their diets are often...