What is malnutrition?
Malnutrition refers to deficiencies or excesses in nutrient intake, imbalance of essential nutrients or impaired nutrient utilization. The double burden of malnutrition consists of both undernutrition and overweight and obesity, as well as diet-related noncommunicable diseases.
- Undernutrition manifests in four broad forms: wasting, stunting, underweight, and micronutrient deficiencies.
What is stunting?
- Stunting is defined as low height-for-age. It is the result of chronic or recurrent undernutrition, usually associated with poverty, poor maternal health and nutrition, frequent illness and/or inappropriate feeding and care in early life.
- Stunting prevents children from reaching their physical and cognitive potential.
What is wasting?
- Wasting is defined as low weight-for-height. It often indicates recent and severe weight loss, although it can also persist for a long time.
- It usually occurs when a person has not had food of adequate quality and quantity and/or they have had frequent or prolonged illnesses.
- Wasting in children is associated with a higher risk of death if not treated properly.
Underweight is defined as low weight-for-age. A child who is underweight may be stunted, wasted or both.
Micronutrient deficiencies are a lack of vitamins and minerals that are essential for body functions such as producing enzymes, hormones and other substances needed for growth and development.