When most people think of malnutrition, they tend to believe that people from third-world countries are the only ones affected. Contrary to popular belief, more than half of the children in America are suffering from malnutrition. And with the poverty rate being so high in the United States, even in the world’s greatest food-producing nation, children and adults face hunger and malnutrition in every county across America.
In honor of Malnutrition Awareness Week, knowing about the seriousness of malnutrition and how it doesn’t only affect people in third-world countries will help bring to light that malnutrition affects people that are a lot closer to home.
What Is Malnutrition?
Malnutrition involves a dietary deficiency. People who eat too much of the wrong type of food can have malnutrition and people may be undernutrition when lacking nutrients because they do not consume enough food, which is also another form of malnutrition.
Food provides the energy and nutrients you need to be healthy. If you don’t get enough nutrients like proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals, you may suffer from malnutrition.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 462 million people worldwide are malnourished, and stunted development due to poor diet affects 159 million children globally.
Symptoms of Malnutrition
Malnutrition causes a variety of health issues. In addition to long-term health problems, malnutrition during childhood can lead to educational challenges and limited work opportunities in the future.
Healthwise, malnutrition can lead to a lot of issues that we tend to take for granted like slowing the process of healing wounds and making the body more susceptible to diseases.
Malnutrition can also cause some of the following symptoms:
- Lack of appetite
- Inability to concentrate
- Always feeling cold
- Loss of fat, muscle mass and body tissue
- Higher risk of getting sick and taking longer to heal
- Wounds that take longer to heal
- Higher risk of complications after surgery
- Reduced libido and problems with fertility
More severe cases resulting from malnutrition can include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Skin may become thin, dry, inelastic, pale and cold
- Fat disappears from the face, the cheeks will protrude while the eyes will be sunken
- Hair will start to become dry and begin to fall out easily
If left unattended, malnutrition in adults can eventually lead to cardiovascular problems and even heart failure. What’s even worse is, even with treatment, there can be long-term effects on mental function and digestive problems may persist, becoming lifelong.
Knowing the preventative measure is imperative to ensure that you and your family avoid experiencing these complications that can be easily overlooked.
To prevent you or your loved ones from malnutrition, it’s essential to consume your daily amount of nutrients from a variety of different foods. There should be a balanced intake of carbohydrates, fats, protein, vitamins and minerals, as well as plenty of fluids, especially water. By doing this you’ll reduce your risk of malnutrition while improving your overall health.
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Sunsations, C. (2018, August 02). Top 10 Reasons to Consume Sea Moss Regularly. Retrieved from https://www.caribsunsations.com/single-post/2017/08/24/Top-10-Reasons-to-Consume-Sea-Moss-Regularly
Malnutrition. (2018, July 25). Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/malnutrition.html