Malnutrition In India

Malnutrition In India

What is Malnutrition:-

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Malnutrition refers to dearth, excesses, or imbalances in a person's intake of energy and/or nutrients. It is an obvious thing that maternal, infant, and child nutrition play very significant role in the proper growth and development, including future socio-economic status of the child.

The weight and physical development of your child should be regularly assessed by your doctor or a public health nurse in their first few years of life. If you have any concerns about your child's development or health you should consult your doctor.

Symptoms:-

  • Lack of strength or energy to undertake routine activities, or poor physical performance.
  • Lack of energy and breathlessness (due to anemia).
  • Changes to skin and nails.
  • Inability to concentrate or becoming unusually irritating.
  • Failure in growth of their expected weight and height (stunted growth).
  • Swelling of the stomach and legs (these symptoms only occurs if a child is severely malnourished)

 

Malnutrition As A Risk Factor For Disease:-

India has the highest number of malnourished children in the world – 1 in every 3 children is found malnourished. The condition is extremely critical because the effects of malnourishment are unalterable if they occur at a young age. If not death, it leads to permanent deficiency that keep the children stunted for the rest of their lives.

Malnutrition adversely affects the chances of survival for children, increases their susceptibility to illness, reduces their capacity to learn, and leaves them less productive in later life.  It is estimated that malnutrition is a crucial factor in about one-third of all deaths of children under the age of 5.

Anemia is a common disease that results due to lack of iron intake. The condition leads to feelings of weakness and fatigue. When combined with other conditions, it can potentially result in mortality.

Malnutrition accelerates the risk of contracting myriad infections as well as delays recovery time. In its most acute forms it can cause muscle wasting. All of these things can decrease the capacity of the individual to work, which, as malnutrition disproportionately affects those in poverty, can lead to worsening financial situations.

 

Causes 0f Malnutrition In India:-

POVERTY

Poverty is one the many reasons that lead to malnutrition. It seriously affects the availability of adequate amount of nutritious food for the most vulnerable populations. More than  90 percent of malnourished people live in developing nations.

LACK OF ACCESS TO FOOD

Most of the food and nutrition crises do not occur because of a lack of food, but rather because people are too poor to obtain enough food. Non-availability of food in markets, difficult access to markets due to lack of transportation, and insufficient financial resources are all factors contributing to the food insecurity of the most vulnerable populations. People are highly dependent on international markets for all or part of their food supply, particularly between harvest periods

LACK OF SAFE POTABLE WATER

Lack of drinking water, cheesy sanitation, and shabby hygiene practices increase vulnerability to infectious and water-borne diseases, which are direct causes of acute malnutrition.

Medical Conditions

  • Certain diseases and infections, such as tuberculosis, measles, and diarrhea are directly linked to acute malnutrition. A combination of disease and malnutrition debilitate the metabolism creating a vicious cycle of infection and malnourishment, leading to vulnerability to illness. HIV and AIDS have become a major cause of severe malnutrition in developing countries. A child infected with HIV is more vulnerable to acute malnutrition than a healthy child. Anti-retroviral drugs are more effective when combined with adequate, regular food intake. So ensuring a healthy diet is an important aspect of HIV control and treatment.
  • Having an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa, which means that the amount of food you eat is very small
  • Having a health condition that causes a lack of appetite, such as cancer, liver disease, active infection, persistent pain or nausea
  • Having a health condition that disrupts your body's ability to digest food or absorb nutrients, such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.

Diagnosing malnutrition in children

Diagnosing malnutrition in children involves taking a measurement of their weight and height and then comparing it against what would be the expected average height and weight for a child of that age.

Some children will be below average as they are naturally smaller, but a significant drop below the expected level for an individual could be a sign of malnutrition.

Slower than expected growth can also be a sign of malnutrition in children. A child who is growing less than 5cm a year could be malnourished.

Blood tests can also be used to measure levels of protein in the blood. Low levels of protein would suggest that a child is malnourished.

Treatment And Diagnosis Of Malnutrition:-

Treatment for malnutrition differs depending on a number of factors, such as:

  • Whether child is mildly, moderately or severely malnourished
  • The underlying cause of malnutrition
  • Whether child is able to eat and digest food normally

Consult Your Doctor to find out underlying cause of malnutrition and treatment.

Healthy diet

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is vital for maintaining health and fitness. To stay healthy, we need to eat foods from a number of different food groups, including:

  • carbohydrates
  • proteins
  • fats
  • dairy

A healthy balanced diet also includes a minimum of five daily portions of fruit and vegetables, including necessary vitamins and minerals.

Nutrients

There are two main groups of nutrients:

  • Macronutrients are the main nutrients that provide the body with energy and help growth. They include carbohydrates, protein and fats.
  • Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals that are needed for many specialist functions inside the body. For example, you require a regular intake of iron to help in the production of new red blood cells.