Types, Causes and Prevention of Malnutrition in Children

Definition of Malnutrition in Children:

Malnutrition is an impairment of health resulting from a deficiency, excess or imbalance of nutrients. It includes under nutrition, which refers to a deficiency of calories and /or one or more essential nutrients and over nutrition which is an excess of one or more nutrients and usually of calories.

It may be defined as pathological state resulting from a relative or absolute deficiency or excess of one or more essential nutrient.

Malnutrition in children
Fig: Malnutrition in children

Classification or Types of Malnutrition in Children:

Various degree of malnutrition have discussed in the below:

1. Under nutrition:

This is the condition which results when insufficient food is eaten over an extended period of time.

2. Over nutrition:

This is the pathological state resulting from the consumption of excessive quantity of food over an extended period of time.

3. Imbalance:

It is the pathological state resulting from a disproportion among essential nutrients with or without the absolute deficiency of any nutrient.

4. Specific deficiency:

It is the pathological state resulting from a relative or absolute lack of an individual nutrient.

Causes of Malnutrition in Children:

Primary malnutrition or primary causes of protein energy malnutrition (PEM):

  • Refusal to take food,
  • Lack of food or means to have access to food 4. Fat foods,
  • Lack of elementary knowledge of food and nutrition,
  • Refusal to take food,
  • Fat foods,
  • Lack of teeth or inability to chew.

Secondary malnutrition:

  • Disorders of the GIT,
  • Fever,
  • Protracted immobilization,
  • Surgery,
  • Drug therapy.

Preventive Measures of Malnutrition in Children:

By the below ways we can prevent malnutrition from our community:

1. International level:

  • Co-operation should be increased between the developed and underdeveloped countries for food.
  • International agencies such as – FAO, UNICEF, WHO are helping the government in different parts of the world against malnutrition.

2. National level:

  • Population control.
  • Increase in food production.
  • Rural development & Industrialization.
  • Proper storage and distribution of food.

3. Community level:

  • Control of communicable diseases,
  • Improvement of water supply,
  • Health education,
  • Significant improvement of overall living conditions of the people.

4. Family level:

  • Family spacing and planning.
  • Special care for nursing mother and children.
  • Breastfeeding practice.
  • Encouraging about poultry and vegetable garden.
  • Education regarding nutrition and home economics.
  • Sanitation of homes.
  • Standardization of living.

Prevention of Malnutrition in Children:

A mother of a baby of low socioeconomic condition can prevent malnutrition of her baby by the following ways:

  • Promotion of breast feeding,
  • Low cost protein e.g. dhal,
  • Planning a. kitchen garden or keeping poultry,
  • Immunization against infectious diseases,
  • Family planning,
  • Nutritional education,
  • Consultation with the local doctor.

More questions related to this article:

  1. What is malnutrition?
  2. What do you mean by malnutrition?
  3. What are the different types of malnutrition?
  4. What are the classifications of malnutrition?
  5. State the main factors of malnutrition in our country.
  6. List the main causes of malnutrition in our country.
  7. How will you prevent malnutrition from your community?
  8. How can a mother of a baby of low socioeconomic condition prevent malnutrition of her baby?

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