Malnutrition

Malnutrition or malnourishment is a condition that results from eating a diet in which nutrients are either not enough or are too much such that the diet causes health problems. It may involve calories, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins or minerals. Not enough nutrients are called under nutrition or undernourishment while too much is called over nutrition. Malnutrition is often used specifically to refer to under nutrition where there are not enough calories, protein, or micronutrients. If under nutrition occurs during pregnancy, or before two years of age, it may result in permanent problems with physical and mental development. Extreme undernourishment, known as starvation, may have symptoms that include: a short height, thin body, very poor energy levels, and swollen legs and abdomen. People also often get infections and are frequently cold. The symptoms of micronutrient deficiencies depend on the micronutrient that is lacking.

Undernourishment is most often due to not enough high-quality food being available to eat. This is often related to high food prices and poverty. A lack of breast feeding may contribute, as a number of infectious diseases such as: gastroenteritis, pneumonia, malaria, and measles, which increase nutrient requirements. There are two main types of under nutrition: protein-energy malnutrition and dietary deficiencies. Protein-energy malnutrition has two severe forms: marasmus (a lack of protein and calories) and kwashiorkor (a lack of just protein). Common micronutrient deficiencies include: a lack of iron, iodine, and vitamin A. During pregnancy, due to the body's increased need, deficiencies may become more common. In some developing countries, over nutrition in the form of obesity is beginning to present within the same communities as under nutrition. Other causes of malnutrition include anorexia nervosa and bariatric surgery.

  • Care needs for malnutrition, sarcopenia, and frailty
  • Nutrition, ageing, and physical functioning
  • Practicalities of rehabilitation for older patients
  • Malnutrition in infants
  • Marasmus role in malnutrition
  • Clinical syndrome: Kwashiorkor
  • Major micronutrients deficiencies
  • Nutrition and the physiology of malnutrition
  • Protein energy malnutrition

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