What you need to know about malnutrition
Table of Contents
A lot of people are suffering from malnutrition ignorantly. All the nutrients in our food have to be balanced. If they are not balanced, malnutrition gains access. This means that all the six classes of food have to be seen in our food.
Definition of malnutrition
Malnutrition is a nutritional disorder that is caused by not having enough food nutrients or excess food nutrients over a long time. When the body does not receive the required nutrient in its right proportion, it malfunctions and becomes vulnerable to diseases (undernutrition). On the other hand, when the body receives more or excess nutrient than it needs, the body outgrows and the brain becomes dull (overnutrition).
Causes of malnutrition
Malnutrition can be caused by the following:
4. Lack of appetite
5. Poor food choice and budgeting
7. Political crisis
9. Lack of job
10. Poor storage and preservation of food
11. Reduction in farming activities
12. Selecting of food
13. Excessive eating
14. Insufficient breast milk (in children)
15. Skipping of meals
16. Rapid increase in population
Types of malnutrition
The following are the types of malnutrition.
This is undernutrition that arises from the lack of protein in the body. There is much consumption of only carbohydrates (rice, pap, yam, garri, potatoes, etc). Kwashiorkor is easily seen in developing countries in children between 1 to 3 years. For the children, it occurs when they stop taking breast milk.
Symptoms of kwashiorkor are: swelling of the arms and legs (edema), protruding of the stomach, loss of appetite, frequent diarrhea with bloodstains, changes in skin colour, hair falling, change of hair color from dark to brownish or reddish, thin legs (muscles waste), etc. Kwashiorkor can be prevented by eating a balanced meal.
Marasmus is a form of malnutrition that happens when the intake of nutrients and energy is too low for the person’s need. It leads to wasting or loss of body fat and muscle. A child with marasmus may not grow as children usually do. Symptoms include dizziness, lack of energy, dry skin, brittle hair, and slow growth.
Obesity is overnutrition. The rate at which people get obese is alarming, especially in children. A person suffers from obesity when the person is overweight as a result of excess fat in the body. Excess calories in the body cause obesity. Obesity in medicine is now an epidemic.
Obesity has a way of exposing the body to various diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and cancer of various kinds. Obesity can arise as a result of an eating disorder, living a sedentary life (staying in one place), hereditary. Medically, obesity occurs when the body mass index (BMI) of 30+. BMI is a method of estimating the body’s fat. It is calculated by dividing the subject’s weight in kilograms by the square of his or her height in meters.
That is BMI = kg/m2.
Obesity can be prevented or controlled by eating variety of food, reducing sugar intake, taking calcium especially those in vitamins and minerals and not from food supplements, maintaining a desirable weight and reducing alcohol intake.
Ricket also called osteomalacia is a softening and weakening of bones in children usually due to inadequate vitamin D.
Vitamin D promotes the body’s absorption of calcium and phosphorus. Extreme or prolonged lack of vitamin D makes it difficult to maintain proper calcium and phosphorus level in bones which can cause tickets.
Symptoms include delayed growth, bow legs, weakness, and pain in the spine, pelvis, and legs. Treatment may involve adding vitamin D or calcium to the diet, medication, and possibly surgery.
Beriberi is a disease that is caused by the lack of Vitamin B1. Vitamin B1 can also be referred to as thiamine. Beriberi affects the nerves and can kill if not treated in time. There are two types of beriberi known as wet and dry beriberi. Symptoms are fast heartbeat, swollen legs, regular vomiting, uncontrollable eye movement, paralysis, etc. Beriberi can be treated and prevented by eating food that is rich in Vitamin B1 ( nuts, green vegetables, fish, meat, beans, milk) or Vitamin B1 supplement.
Goiter occurs as a result of a lack of iodine in the body (undernutrition). There is an enlargement of the thyroid gland (Adam’s apple). Symptoms are swelling and lump in the Adam’s Apple under the neck, coughing, shortness of breath, inactive thyroid gland. It can be treated through medications and surgery.