Malnutrition occurs when a person's diet lacks sufficient nutrients.
Malnutrition is a condition that occurs when a person does not consume a well balanced diet.
The diseases which are caused due to a lack of nutrients in the diet are called Deficiency Diseases.
Causes of malnutrition:
  • Inappropriate choice of diet
  • Low income or poverty
  • Difficulty in obtaining food
  • Various physical and mental health conditions
  • Lack of awareness and illiteracy
  • Food insecurity.
The various diseases that are caused due to protein deficiency:
Protein deficiency
KwashiorkorStunted growth, swelling observed in face and limbs, diarrhoea.It is also called edematous malnutrition, as it is associated with oedema or fluid retention or swelling. It is caused due to lack of protein in the diet and in areas where there is famine.
MarasmusSlow body growth, Skinny appearanceOccurs mostly in babies and young children. It is severe malnutrition caused due to energy deficiency. It causes loss of muscles and fat, which is why children with Marasmus look skinny and famish.
Kwashiorkor and Marasmus
Diseases caused due to mineral deficiency:
Deficiency disease
CalciumRicketsRickets is a bone disease that affects infants and young ones. When vitamin D is deficient, there is lower absorption of calcium. As a result, the child's growing bones fail to develop properly due to the shortage or lack of vitamin D. This results in soft and weakened bones, fractures, bone and muscle pain, and bone deformities.
PhosphorousOsteomalaciaDeficiency in phosphorus results in osteomalacia. Osteomalacia results in weakness and softness in bones. Osteomalacia in older adults leads to fractures.
IodineCretinism (in Children) and
Goitre (in adult)
Cretinism is observed in infants or children with severe iodine deficiency. Iodine deficiency in the diet during the pregnancy of the mother causes cretinism. Goitre is observed in adults is characterised by swelling in the neck. Lack of iodine can lead to malfunctioning of the thyroid gland that causes hyperthyroid and hypothyroid. This condition induces hair fall, obesity and also inflammation in the throat.
IronAnemiaAnaemia is caused due to iron deficiency where there are not enough healthy red blood cells. Anaemia can cause light-headedness, dizziness and tiredness.
Anganwadi centre:
The Anganwadi centre is a children health care centre present in India. It was started in the year \(1975\) as part of the Integrated Child Development Services program. The motto of the Anganwadi centre is to combat malnutrition and hunger in children.
In Anganwadis, nutrition and health education is also provided. It is mainly for children from the age of \(0 - 6\) \(years\). Pregnant and lactating women also get the benefit from the centre.