Causes of Malnutrition

Subject: Nutrition
Type: Cause and Effect Essay
Pages: 6
Word count: 1603
Topics: Weight Loss, Disease, Food, Obesity, Universal Healthcare

Malnutrition refers to a condition that is caused by a person lack of consuming a diet that is either rich in nutrients or a situation in which such nutrients are missing (Darnell et al. 2004). Similarly, the condition can be caused due to an effect in which such nutrients are in excess in the diets to an extent that the lack of such nutrients creates health problems. The problem of nutrition can be brought about by a number of facts or rather the condition can be related to a number of facts that either lack or are in excess in their diets. For instance, if an individual takes excess calories in their meals then chances are high that such persons can get in to such problems. Similarly, the problem has factual relations with vitamins, minerals proteins as well as carbohydrates.  Calories are the basic units of energy. The body of a human being just needs small calorie for the amount of temperature of the one gram of water to be raised by a single degree within a leveled atmospheric pressure. 

Proteins are the large biomolecules that are found in the human body that are composed of amino acids chains. Without the proteins in the human body, functionality can be next to impossibility. For instance, it is the work of the proteins to catalyze the metabolic reactions within the internal structure of the organisms. Additionally, proteins are used for the DNA replication process as well as creating response to stimuli. Furthermore, the body needs proteins for the process of stimuli transportation within the body to take place (Darnell et al. 2004). On the other hand, vitamins refer to an organic compound that all organisms need albeit in a required amount. Vitamins are needed for the treatment of specific health problems however; there has not been any evidence that shows how important such an exercise can be of help to healthy people. 

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Malnutrition is in most cases caused by a deficiency in calories and other macronutrients within the human body. The dangers of malnutrition occurring be dangerous if it occurs during a woman’s pregnancy or before a child’s gets to the stage of two years (Black et al. 2008).  If a child gets to experience under nutrition before two years, chances are high that such a child can suffer either physical or permanent mental problems. An extreme form of under nutrition popularly referred to as starvation can show a number of symptoms that include swollen legs, having a thin body, shortcomings in energy levels as well as a swollen abdomen. Moreover, people who suffer from starvation are most likely to get infected by other diseases very easily such as cold. The symptoms displayed by a person suffering from macronutrients deficiencies differ significantly from one person to another depending on the exact micronutrient that lacks in their body system. 

There are a number of factors that have been suggested to be the sole cause of malnutrition in the human body. For instance, the escalating food prices across the globe are one factor that has always been associated with an increase in malnutrition. Similarly, three are those who say that a poor breastfeeding program can also be the cause of malnutrition for children at that stage. Similarly, there a number of infectious diseases that can also play a role towards malnutrition. Diseases such as pneumonia, measles and gastroenteritis are also informal contributors to the problem. Whenever infectious diseases come knocking, the victim is put in a condition where they have to make sure that they boost their nutrition intake. 

Under nutrition has been divided into two categories, with the first one being protein-energy while the second one is the deficiency in diets. Protein energy malnutrition comes in the form of marasmus as well as kwashiorkor that primarily means a deficiency of protein in the human body. During the period when a woman is pregnant, her body in most cases increasingly needs a number of intakes and nutrients in order to function optimally. As a result of the increase in nutrients intake, chances are high that her body may suffer deficiency of certain important nutrients. Opposed to what in the less developed countries, those who live in developed nations suffer from what is called as obesity. Such obesity cases are brought about by the excess consumption of nutrients. 

There are a number of additional factors that also contribute towards malnutrition problems, and they include anorexia nervosa. This cause of malnutrition is brought about by a lack of proper intake of food that in most cases results in loss of weight (Gull, 1997). The one contradiction that is seen in people with anorexia is that they often see themselves as being overweight when in real sense they are underweight. In such instances, these types of people find it hard to accept that they are indeed underweight. These types of people are often faced with a situation where they only consume small amounts of food and in certain situations; they prefer taking only specific types of foods. Some of the victims are forced to take part in excess training programs and at times they use laxatives with an aim of dropping some pounds of weight. A complication brought by such activities is that infertility in women can start to develop whereas for others they can suffer heart damages (Gull, 1997). Studies also suggest that women can fail to have their menstrual periods as a result of the above condition. 

Medical surgeries can also cause malnutrition in people even though very few people get to suffer from such problems. For instance, bariatric surgery is done on patients who consider themselves to be overweight or obesity. Such a surgery process includes the process of reducing the stomach size of the patient or even removing a given section of the stomach. Additionally, the surgery can be done on the patient to re-route the small intestine so that its system is directed towards the stomach pouch. 

Away from the dietary causes, there are also other causes of malnutrition that are caused by social problems in the society such as poverty. For instance, women in San Jeronimo district are considered to be poverty stricken, therefore limiting their abilities to access certain basic healthcare services. Part of such a problem is caused by the fact that 73.9 percent of women staying in such environments do not get to complete their formal education. Lack of proper education limits ones income therefore keeping them at bay when it comes to accessing the basic medical services due to lack of money to pay for such services. The same case applies to the women in Bangladesh where poverty has limited the women’s ability to purchase nutritious foods not only for themselves but also for their children (Kraemer, 2002). Women in Bangladesh have no money to buy milk, fruits, milk and poultry for their families. 

There is a contradicting issue when it comes to the condition under which the shortage of food causes malnutrition. According to Food and Agriculture Organizing, their statistics show that children that suffer from malnutrition in the developing countries are actually in nations that produce food in surpluses. What most economists put across is the fact that there is enough food in such areas where children suffer from malnutrition problems. The only thing that the economists suggest is that the distribution channel of such foods is what is missing in most of the countries. In addition to the poor food distribution programs, the families living in such areas also lack the purchasing power to buy the food from the sellers. Prices of the foods keep getting out of hand because of the speculations conducted by the sellers who keep holding the goods as they wait for the food rice’s to shoot up before finally selling the products (Volkert, 2009). In the United States, there was the real estate bubble issue that collapsed some time ago that prompted most of the investors to divert their money into the agricultural sector. The result of the diversion of the investment was that it led to food prices crisis that took place between the years 2007-2008.  

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Over nutrition which surprisingly can also be considered as malnutrition is a problem that faces the United States of America where a number of adults are facing the problem of being overweight. This problem, just like hunger, increases the chances of the victims becoming susceptible to diseases. Whenever such a person suffers from such events is that their ability to deliver within their work stations reduces significantly. Additionally, as a result of suffering such setbacks, the life expectancy of such persons reduces significantly. 

Overeating is a common thing in the United States and the country has grappled with the condition for the longest time ever. The problem is also made worse by the fact that access to food is not a problem within America. On the flipside, what the rest of the world faces is an access to a surplus food substances that lack nutritious substances. For instance, most people have in the recent past taken to the consumption of sugar laden as well as fats instead of taking to the consumption of the healthy foods. Most of the people in the developed countries such as the United States have in the recent past takes to the consumption of fast foods due to the affordability as well as the accessibility of such food substances. Experts say that in as much as these fast foods are of low cost, they cause a lot of health problems to the consumers due to their high composition of calories.

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  1. Black, R. E.; Allen, L. H.; Bhutta, Z. A.; Caulfield, L. E.; De Onis, M.; Ezzati, M.; Mathers, C.; Rivera, J.; Maternal Child Undernutrition Study Group (2008). “Maternal and child under nutrition: Global and regional exposures and health consequences”. The Lancet. 371 (9608): 243–260
  2. Grover, Zubin; Ee, Looi C. (2009). “Protein Energy Malnutrition”. Pediatric Clinics of North America. 56 (5): 1055–1068.
  3. Gull, WW (September 1997). “Anorexia nervosa (apepsia hysterica, anorexia hysterica). 1868.”. Obesity Research. 5 (5): 498–502
  4. Khan, MM; Kraemer, A  (2009). “Factors associated with being underweight, overweight and obese among ever-married non-pregnant urban women in Bangladesh”. Singapore medical journal. 50 (8): 804–13. 
  5. Volkert, D. (2002). “Malnutrition in the elderly — prevalence, causes and corrective strategies”. Clinical Nutrition. 21: 110–112
  6. Lodish H, Berk A, Matsudaira P, Kaiser CA, Krieger M, Scott MP, Zipurksy SL, Darnell J (2004). Molecular Cell Biology (5th ed.). New York, New York: WH Freeman and Company
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