The word malnutrition means an unbalanced nutritional intake as a result of insufficient consumption of nutrients (under nutrition) or excessive intake of one or more nutrient (over nutrition), this takes place over a long period of time.
Malnutrition, spotted as the foremost health problem in the developing countries is clearly seen in different nutritional diseases or disorders like kwashiorkor, marasmus and obesity which are often seen in our communities.
Kwashiorkor is due to inadequate consumption of protein. Its major symptoms being oedema, moonfaced, loss of appetite while marasmus is due to inadequate consumption of both protein and carbohydrates which brings about lack of growth, constantly being hungry and severe muscle wasting.
Proves have shown that malnutrition is an important concern in women, children, and the elderly ones. Children are directly tied to the nutrition of their mothers during pregnancy and breastfeeding. So women have need for higher nutritional level. Breastfeeding can reduce rate of malnutrition and mortality in children. Educational programmes for mothers could have a large impart on this rate by helping to make them see the benefits of exclusively breastfeeding their babies for the first six months and up to two years of age. The elderly have a larger risk of malnutrition because of unique complications such as change in appetite and energy level, chewing and swallowing problems.
Malnutrition is a major health problem especially in developing countries. Poor water supply, sanitation and hygiene have direct imparts on infectious diseases like diarrhoea. Malnutrition may also result when certain foods containing one or more of the essential vitamins or minerals are not included in the diet, this often lead to nutritional deficiency and poor food performance.