Malnutrition is a state in which prolonged lack of one or more nutrients retards physical development or causes specific clinical disorders, such as, iron deficiency anemia, goiter, to list a few. Malnutrition can also be defined as an impairment of health resulting from a deficiency, excess or imbalance of nutrition. It also includes under nutrition and over nutrition.
Deficiency of protein and energy during infancy is one of the most serious problems throughout the world. It leads to clinical syndromes such as Kwashiorkor, Marasmus, and Anemia.
Kwashiorkor is a protein deficiency disease, caused due to poor intake of protein or quality protein over a prolonged period of time. Kwashiorkor causes swelling in the body especially in the hands, feet and the face. The hair and skin show characteristic changes – hair may be light colored or depigmented to reddish yellow and fall off in patches and the skin show patches and become flaky and peel off.
Marasmus is due to severe of protein and calorie in the diet.It is not due to calorie deficiency alone because marasmic children subsequently develop kwashiorkor. The common signs and symptoms include loss of body weight and failure in weight gain, body fat depletion, muscles are wasted. The marasmic child is characterized with its thin, lean skinny appearance whereas a kwashiorkor child is flabby with edema or swelling in the body.
A sample diet for kwashiorkor and marasmus child should be high calorie and high protein like milk, Rava, porridge, boiled groundnut, dal, and rice.
The sources are – eggs, guava, soybeans, rice, dal, soybeans, khichri, mixed flour biscuit, sattu, carrot halwa or carrot, sprouted green dal, sabudanakheer.
Nutritional anemia is a serious health problem. It is due to deficiency of iron in the diet. It is very common for women and girls, menstrual losses and increased needs in pregnancy are some cause of anemia. A well-balanced diet with high protein, iron, Vit C and B Complex is required. The recommended sources are dry fruit like raisins, currants, dates, figs, prunes, green leafy veg, drumsticks green mango, soybeans, rice bran, gingelly seeds, watermelon, Chiku. Eggs are considered the best source of iron and protein and can be taken by those who can afford it.