In many parts of the world, malnutrition particularly among children is a very big issue. Whenever you think about malnutrition, you may first think about those starving children who are often found to be underweight.
You may also find overweight children who may not get sufficient essential nutrients, like vitamins and minerals. Lack of all these things can lead to the risk of diseases but can affect overall health of these children.
Many governments are trying to develop how to get free food from vending machines so that these undernourished children can be fed well.
Following are few diseases caused by malnutrition.
- Vitamin-A deficiency
Lack of vitamin in the diet can cause xerophthalmia, that will start with night blindness and dry eyes which may lead to complete blindness if this deficiency is not treated on time.
Further serious complication due to vitamin A deficiency may cause lowered immune function, due to which children are more susceptible to various other illnesses.
As per World Health Organization, due to malnutrition children can die from diarrhea, measles, acute respiratory infections and malaria.
- Iodine and Niacin deficiencies
Insufficient niacin will cause diarrhea, pellagra, rashes on skin and if this deficiency is not corrected, then can cause dementia and death.
Those children who do not get sufficient iodine will develop enlarged thyroid or goiter. Children born from mothers with such deficiency will suffer from cretinism. They will remain stunted both physically and mentally.
- Vitamin-D deficiency
In the USA, vitamin-D deficiency is prevalent among children and due to insufficient vitamin D will cause rickets, which ends up with bowed legs because of soft bones.
Weak bone causes rickets that can break bones very easily, cause bone pain, muscle cramps, skeletal deformities, dental deformities and impaired growth.
- Iron deficiency
All around the world, iron-deficiency anemia is very common nutritional deficiencies. Those children not getting enough iron, don’t make sufficient hemoglobin for red blood cells, hence they will not get required oxygen carried in their cells.
Due to this, children will be pale, tired, dizzy and irritable. Their appetite will decrease and also slows down brain development, reduces immune function and also decreases school performance.
- Obesity-related conditions
Though obesity may not cause disease, however it can increase the risk for many health problems. Those children who are obese children will have
- High cholesterol
- Joint problems
- High blood pressure
- Type-2 diabetes
- Breathing problems
- Fatty liver disease
- Acid reflux
As children get old, they may develop cancer, heart disease and diabetes.