Malnutrition: Is It A Global Health Epidemic?



You look at your children and see that they are plump and quite fat for their age. In your mind, you’re happy because they are eating well and you’re blessed with resources to pay for the food. It’s a relief because you know that they will grow well – eating a balanced meal each day complete with all the vitamins and minerals which is the best for growing kids. Their bodies and brains are enriched and they are healthy.

But there are kids whose parents have the resources and yet, they are malnourished. That’s because they eat junk foods, processed meats and all that garbage. It doesn’t mean that when a child looks “fat”, he is automatically healthy. A child can be obese and yet, he can also be malnourished. This is a very dangerous health condition and yes, it is a global health epidemic. Several health organizations all over the world are threatened by the vastness of malnutrition.


Understanding Malnutrition



The World Health Organization explains malnutrition as both a deficit and an excess of nutrient intake. It can be undernutrition which is the common type of malnutrition that we all know – when a person doesn’t eat much of the needed nutrients for his age and height. What we don’t know yet is that overnutrition is also a type of malnutrition – the person eats too much of what is recommended of him.


Both conditions are considered malnutrition. Super thin and super fat kids are both malnourished, in a sense. The terrifying fact is that malnutrition is a child killer. 45% of the cases wherein children die prematurely is because of malnutrition. This is really an alarming statistic as relayed by World Health Organization. Malnutrition doesn’t happen overnight. It could have been prevented if early intervention was enacted.


Signs and Symptoms of Malnutrition


  • There is significant fat loss.
  • A malnourished person will have difficulty breathing.
  • Respiratory tract health issues are at hand as well.
  • Depression is also an issue.
  • Post-surgical complications can happen.
  • Low body temperature is present.
  • Declining immune system is imminent.
  • The feeling of being “cold” all the time is being experienced.
  • Wounds are not easily healed.
  • Infections stay for a longer period.
  • Ailments take a long time to recover.
  • Sex drive is diminished. (for adults)
  • It promotes infertility.
  • Muscle and tissue mass are also lessened.
  • Chronic fatigue is being suffered.
  • The person is always agitated or in a bad mood.


Aside from the symptoms above, those who are severely malnourished will manifest these indicators as well:


  • The skin is super dry, lifeless, dull and cold.
  • Eyes will be sunken and the face will be hollow while cheekbones are very prominent – not a good look.
  • Hair will be falling out or will eventually get thin.
  • A person may become impassive.
  • Heart failure, as well as liver malfunction and respiratory collapse are sure to happen.
  • A person who cannot or will not eat for eight straight weeks will die.


Treating Malnutrition




Nutritional and mental health support are necessary to treat malnutrition. The person will be given a specific nutrient-dense diet by a nutrition specialist to fill in with the nutrient deficiency. A malnourished obese person will have to trim down to a healthy weight and a nutritionist will provide an eating or diet program for him or her.


Also, therapy will be recommended to address mental health issues that come along with this condition. The person may have worries or fears of his or her health problem and that’s why a counselor or therapist is required. He or she can assist the malnourished individual to feel better and shoo away from depressive moods which is one of the symptoms of malnutrition. (Online therapy provided by BetterHelp is the best way to seek counseling services through the net.)






Share Button