Our Nutrition Counseling and Care in the Management of Malnutrition
Malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses, or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients.
The term malnutrition addresses three broad groups of conditions:
Undernutrition, which includes wasting (low weight-for-height), stunting (low height-for-age) and underweight (low weight-for-age);
Micronutrient-related malnutrition, which includes micronutrient deficiencies (a lack of important vitamins and minerals) or micronutrient excess; and
Overweight, obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases (such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers).
Inadequacies in intake of vitamins and minerals often referred to as micronutrients, can also be grouped together.
Micronutrients enable the body to produce enzymes, hormones, and other substances that are essential for proper growth and development.
Iodine, vitamin A, and iron are the most important in global public health terms; their deficiency represents a major threat to the health and development of populations worldwide, particularly children and pregnant women in low-income countries.
Overweight and obesity:
Overweight and obesity occur when a person is too heavy for his or her height. Abnormal or excessive fat accumulation can impair health.
Body mass index (BMI) is an index of weight-for-height commonly used to classify overweight and obesity. It is defined as a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of his/her height in meters (kg/m²). In adults, overweight is defined as a BMI of 25 or more, whereas obesity is a BMI of 30 or more.
Overweight and obesity result from an imbalance between energy consumed (too much) and energy expended (too little). Globally, people are consuming foods and drinks that are more energy-dense (high in sugars and fats), and engaging in less physical activity.
Diet-related noncommunicable diseases:
Diet-related noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) include cardiovascular diseases (such as heart attacks and stroke, and often linked with high blood pressure), certain cancers, and diabetes. Unhealthy diets and poor nutrition are among the top risk factors for these diseases globally.
Nutrient Deficiency Diseases:
These include, but are not limited to, Protein Energy Malnutrition, Scurvy, Rickets, Beriberi, Hypocalcemia, Osteomalacia, Vitamin K Deficiency, Pellagra, Xerophthalmia, and Iron Deficiency.
Deficiencies, excesses and imbalances in diet can produce negative impacts on health, which may lead to diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, scurvy, obesity or osteoporosis, as well as psychological and behavioral problems.
It is possible to be deficient in almost every nutrient. That said, the deficiencies mentioned above are by far the most common.
Children, young women, older adults, vegetarians, and vegans seem to be at the highest risk of several deficiencies.
The best way to prevent deficiency is to eat a balanced diet that includes whole, nutrient-dense foods. However, supplements may be necessary for those who can’t obtain enough from diet alone.
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