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Poverty is closely associated with malnutrition in India and most developing countries. However, you will be surprised to know that the affluent class kids also suffer from different types of malnutrition. If you are among the many who assume that malnutrition means lack of nutrition, you may be surprised to know the difference. Malnutrition and undernutrition are two different terms. In fact, undernutrition is just a type of the former. We discussed this with our expert Neelanjana Singh, chief nutrition consultant at PSRI hospitals. Here is an excerpt from it.
What is undernutrition?
Over 923 million people in the world are undernourished. India has 42 percent of the world s underweight children and a third of the women in the reproductive age group are under-nourished with BMI below the cut-off level of 18. Undernutrition is lack or deficiency of nutrients and energy in kids or adults.
Being undernutritioned could mean being underweight or too short according to age or excessively thin. An individual may not look dangerously thin but lack certain minerals and vitamins that may lead to further health complications. While risk of undernutrition is higher in poor class people, unhealthy food habits can lead to undernutrition even in affluent class children or adults. Did you know that nutritional deficiencies can also lead to hair loss.
What is malnutrition?
Malnutrition, on the other hand, is not just deficiency but also an excess of nutrients or vitamins in the body. Following are some types of malnutrition:
Malnutrition can result in a lot of complications like diabetes, heart and cardiovascular diseases, effect on the sense of smell, taste and sight, and lead to psychiatric symptoms too. A proper diet and physical activity is required for sufficient intake of vitamins and minerals in the body and their effective absorption.
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