Malnutrition is the condition that develops when the body does not get the right amount of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients it needs to maintain healthy tissues and organ function. Undernutrition
Malnutrition occurs in people who are either undernourished or overnourished. Undernutrition is a consequence of consuming too few essential nutrients or using or excreting them more rapidly than they can be replaced. Overnutrition
In the United States, nutritional deficiencies have generally been replaced by dietary imbalances or excesses associated with many of the leading causes of death and disability. Overnutrition results from eating too much, eating too many of the wrong things, not exercising enough, or taking too many vitamins or other dietary replacements. Malnutrition can also be defined as the insufficient, excessive or imbalanced consumption of nutrients. Several different nutrition disorders may develop, depending on which nutrients are lacking or consumed in excess.
Sub nutrition occurs when an individual does not consume enough food. It may exist if the person has a poor diet that gives them the wrong balance of basic food groups.
Obese people, who consume more calories than they need, may suffer from the sub nutrition aspect of malnutrition if their diet lacks the nutrients their body needs for good health.
According to the National Health Service (NHS), UK, it is estimated that over two million people are affected by malnutrition (sub nutrition).
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the number of people globally who were malnourished stood at 923 million in 2007, an increase of over 80 million since the 1990-92 base period.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says that malnutrition is by far the largest contributor to child mortality globally, currently present in half of all cases. Underweight births and inter-uterine growth restrictions are responsible for about 2.2 million child deaths annually in the world. Deficiencies in vitamin A or zinc cause 1 million deaths each year.
WHO adds that malnutrition during childhood usually results in worse health and lower educational achievements during adulthood? Malnourished children tend to become adults who have smaller babies.
While malnutrition used to be seen as something which complicated such diseases as measles, pneumonia and diarrhea, it often works the other way round - malnutrition can cause diseases to occur.
I. History of Malnutrition
1. An old plague finally discovered?
In the 1930s Cecily Williams described a condition, found among African children between six months and four years of age, characterized by irritability, diarrhea, swelling of hands and feet, and changes of skin and hair. She first published it under the heading "deficiency diseases", then "nutritional disease", kwashiorkor, and "malnutrition", a lethal condition unless treated very early. Its cause was an abnormal diet: breast-feeding by a pregnant mother or an old woman, and insufficient weaning food: maize. The period of breast-feeding had been much shorter than normal. She considered African women ignorant in nutrition matters, though they knew what kwashiorkor meant. The treatment was dietetic: cod-liver oil, malt, tinned milk. Once at home, many children who had recovered in hospital died of the original condition.
In 1935 she counted some sixty cases in three years, five years later "probably less than 50 per cent. of the babies born alive survive[d] to maturity". In 1952, unknown to the textbooks, "kwashiorkor [was] the most serious and widespread nutritional disorder", in 1979 "it [was] largely responsible for the fact that in many areas up to half of the children born do not survive to the age of 5 years". In 1985 Unicef was "faced with the malnutrition and ill health which claim the lives of nearly four million African children each and every year". This is not the...