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Undernutrition and the Cycle of Malnutrition

Undernutrition continues to be a chronic problem for many countries throughout the developing world. What are some of the health problems associated with undernutrition? Explain the cycle of malnutrition. Who does it impact? Explain.

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Hi,

Another interesting topic! Let's take a CLOSER look. I also included a full article, some of which this response is drawn for extra reading.

RESPONSE:

1. Undernutrition continues to be a chronic problem for many countries throughout the developing world.

Undernutrition is a form of malnutrition resulting from a reduced supply of food or from inability to digest, assimilate, and use the necessary nutrients (http://www.medilexicon.com/medicaldictionary.php?t=95585).

According to UNICEF, undernutrition is defined as the outcome of insufficient food intake and repeated infectious diseases. It includes being underweight for one's age, too short for one's age (stunted); dangerously thin for one's height (wasted) and deficient in vitamins and minerals (micronutrient malnutrition). http://www.unicef.org/progressforchildren/2006n4/undernutritiondefinition.html

2. What are some of the health problems associated with undernutrition?

Undernutrition is a form of malnutrition, which occurs when a person's body is not getting enough nutrients. The condition may result from an inadequate or unbalanced diet, digestive difficulties, absorption problems, or other medical conditions (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/weights-poids/guide-ld-adult/weight_book-livres_des_poids-02_e.html). Health problems associated with undernutrition:

· Increased risk of infectious diseases
· Increased infant mortality rate e.g. early death due to disease
· Osteoporosis
· Infertility
· Blindness e.g., lack of vitamin A
· Stunted growth e.g. suffer from different kinds of physical and mental problems including lowering of IQ. (see article at the end of this response in the extra reading section).
· Malnutrition decreases physical growth, mental development, learning capacity and the productivity of an individual and the nation.

3. Explain the cycle of malnutrition. Who does it impact? Explain.

As discussed below in the article (Awwal, 2005), the cycle of malnutrition begins before birth. "Nutrition-status of the adolescent girls gets worse after pregnancy. As an outcome, they deliver baby with low birth-weight and become practically unable to breastfeed. Most of the girls are the victims of this situation. Generally, the child gets insufficient breast milk in the first six months of life and then gets improper and inadequate foods during the weaning period. From age of two years, growth spurt becomes slower, the child becomes victim of malnutrition and the indicators of Malnutrition become vivid among them. The impact is huge and damages cause during this time are irreversible. Many of them become stunted and suffer from different kinds of physical and mental problems including lowering of IQ. Though the prevalence of malnutrition is most prevalent among the children under five years, the damage due to malnutrition basically starts from gestational period to two years of life." the child continues to have infections, which also ...

Solution Summary

This solution identifies some of the health problems associated with undernutrition, and also explains the cycle of malnutrition, in terms of its impact on developing countries. Supplemented with an article on the cycle of malnutrition.

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