Malnutrition: Symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment

Malnutrition is a condition where body receives lower nutrition content than what it requires. As per Global Analysis Report 2018, India leads in number of total malnutrition cases in world. It accounts to 1/3rd such cases.

Causes are:

  • Poverty

    : low purchasing power hinder the procurement of nutrition. Irregular eating and feeding can lead to nutrition Purchase of low-quality resources can lead to infection & diseases.

  • Illiteracy

    : lack of knowledge, awareness of a ‘balanced diet’ and nutritional requirements of a particular, age, sex etc. lead to malnutrition. In recent Bihar encephalopathy cases many malnourished children woke up with the condition after sleeping an empty stomach.

  • Prenatal and Postnatal Nutrition

    : Pregnant mothers must have nourished diet, lack of which propagates malnourishment to children. Proper Postnatal and Prenatal food intake is not undertaken due to lack of awareness, discrimination against women. Early marriages, early pregnancy in adolescents’ girls can affect health of mothers & baby- as her body is not ready to nourish them both.

  • Poor sanitation & conditions

    : Under unhygienic situations, lack of safe drinking water, pucca housing, damp environment, overcrowding of houses- infections spreads and cause repeated con of appetite.

A malnourished population is never an asset to society. Children suffering from same poses low IQ, perform poorly in school due to low brain development. Productivity of workers is affected- they are unable to do jobs efficiently & fall into vicious cycle of poverty. Malnourished women unable to work and cannot improve social conditions of women like equality in pay, jobs, promotions etc.

The government has undertaken National Nutrition that aims to reduce stunting each year by 2% by 2025. ‘Poshan Maah’ introduced by Ministry of Women & Child Development aims to improve behavioral & technical aspects of malnutrition. Integrated child development services being undertaken to provide nutrition to younger children. Mid-day meal schemes, National Rural Health Mission, Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent girls etc. have all being undertaken to alleviate malnutrition.


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