Scurvy: Vitamin C and United Nations Children

Topics: Malnutrition, Vitamin C, Nutrition Pages: 3 (1139 words) Published: January 23, 2011
Scurvy is perhaps the oldest known deficiency disease. However, its specific relationship to ascorbic acid was not recognized until the 20th century. It generally occurs between six and 18 months of age, but can start much earlier in pre-mature babies or those borne of mothers who lacked nutritious food during their later stages of pregnancies. This makes it a type of malnutratian. Mal nutrtiian is a pretty broad typic but a lot of children suffer from it , Malnutrition is a dietary condition caused by a deficiency or excess of one or more essential nutrients in the diet. Malnutrition is characterized by a wide array of health problems, including extreme weight loss, stunted growth, weakened resistance to infection, and impairment of intellect. Severe cases of malnutrition can lead to death. Children suffer from the effects of starvation more quickly than adults do. According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), malnutrition contributes to the deaths of more than 6 million children under age five each year. Typically, starving children develop a condition called protein-energy malnutrition (PEM). The two most common forms of PEM, marasmus and kwashiorkor, occur in all developing countries and are life-threatening conditions. Marasmus occurs when a child is weaned earlier than normal and receives foods low in nutrients. The child may also suffer repeated infections, such as gastro-enteritis, due to poor hygiene. A child with marasmus is very underweight, with no body fat and wasted muscles. Kwashiorkor occurs when a child is weaned later than normal and receives starchy foods low in protein. In this disease, the child's abnormally low body weight is often masked by water retention, which makes the face moon-shaped and the belly swollen. Deficiency diseases are usually associated with lack of vitamins or minerals. The effects of a vitamin or mineral deficiency on the body depend on the function of the particular nutrient lacking. For example, vitamin A...
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