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2 Major Health Problems Resulting From Malnutrition

Many societies suffer from the health problems of malnutrition. When the word malnutrition is mentioned, most people think of it as a problem of under nutrition only while the fact is that over nutrition is also a problem. The correct definition of malnutrition is that it is a condition which arises from improper nutrition status of an individual.
There are a lot of disorders that result from under nutrition. Here are two major health problems resulting from under nutrition.

1. Protein Energy Malnutrition:
There are two types of this disorder.
a) Kwashiorkor where there is inadequate intake of protein only.
b) Marasmus where there is inadequate intake of both protein and energy.
• Kwashiorkor:
A. Mostly affect children from 1 to 3 years.
B. Diet is grossly deficient in protein.
C. It is seen during the weaning period when the child diet is changed from breast milk to diet high in starch and low protein.
D. The following points are the clinical features of the disease:
1) Edema which is constant in the face and more marked in the lower limbs.
2) Wasting of muscles.
3) Low body weight masked by edema.
4) Hair change: the kid’s hair becomes light and easily removed.
5) Skin: the kid will have patched and pigmentations.
6) Hepatomegaly.
7) Apathy and irritability.

• Marasmus:
A. Affect children under 1 year.
B. Inadequate caloric and protein intakes.
C. It happens due to the early cessation of breast feeding where breast milk is replaced by over diluted formula feeding with low calories and nutrient content.
D. The following points are the clinical features of the disease:
1) Senile faces.
2) Severe muscle wasting.
3) Very low weight for age.
4) Loss of subcutaneous fat.
5) There is no edema.
6) The liver is not affected.
7) There is no mental affection.
• How to prevent protein energy malnutrition?
A. General measures.
1. Raising socioeconomic standards.
2. Planning for increasing production of protective foods.
3. Environmental sanitation.
B. Specific measures:
1. Proper breast feeding for 2 years.
2. Proper weaning practices with complementary feeding.
3. Nutrition education of mothers.
4. Prevention and control of infectious diseases.
5. Growth monitoring for early detection and management of protein energy malnutrition.

2. Dental Caries (tooth decay):
Dental caries is a chronic widely prevalent disease. It forms a nutritional as well as public health problem all over the world.
• The Cause of dental caries:
dental caries results from the interaction of four undependable variables:
1. Susceptible host (teeth and surrounding saliva).
2. Carcinogenic diet like any soft carbohydrates.
3. Caries specific bacteria.
4. Decrease of fluoride.
• How to prevent dental caries?
a) Adequate nourishment especially for growing children.
b) Oral hygiene and proper cleaning of teeth.
c) Fluoridation of water (optimum content is 1 ppm).

These two health problems mainly affect our kids so they need to be understood completely in order to know how to protect our kids against them. Under nutrition problems in our kids will affect them now and for the rest of their lives.

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