Causes of Malnutrition, Effects and Prevention!

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What is it that comes to your mind whenever you hear this word, Malnutrition and the causes of malnutrition? The image of a skinny person with bones protruding, right? We would never call an overweight person as malnourished!

But, here is what you should remember. Both of them are genuine instances of malnutrition. If the first person has experienced undernutrition, the second one has experienced overnutrition. However, we only tend to agree with the first one as malnourished. In this post, I will break the myths and tell you everything you should be knowing about ‘Malnutrition’.

So What Exactly is Malnutrition?

Malnutrition is basically a health disorder wherein a person intakes excessive nutrients or insufficient nutrients. It is the imbalance that is the key point. This condition could cause harm to various essential organs and their functions in the human body. While the lack of ample nutrients causes improper growth, it could also cause rickets, organ failure and stunted growth. On the flip side, overnutrition could also have the same sort of results where the person would fall prey to hypertension, diabetes, obesity or even heart attack!

Causes of malnutrition

What are The Causes of Malnutrition?

Malnutrition can happen due to various aspects. If undernutrition is found among the poor, since they aren’t availed of nutritious food, overnutrition could be the effect of careless lifestyle or health disorders such as PCOD or improper thyroid gland functioning.

What Can Be Called as the Initiation of Malnutrition?

1. No Balanced Diet

In children, malnutrition is caused as a result of lack of balanced diet that has nutrition. In poverty-stricken countries, people do not get to intake vital nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats and vitamins in their everyday meal. Besides, people who do not have enough information about nutrition will be often seen following a diet which you could call unhealthy. This diet would not contain needed minerals and vitamins, and will eventually causes of malnutrition.

2. Harmful of Indigestible Meals

Harmful or indigestible meals could be among the leading causes of malnutrition. Children who are from rich background intake expensive food that could be harmful or indigestible. Such foods would make them feel full, which will cause malnutrition. Loss of appetite could result in life by or liver disease, tumors, chronic infections, depressive illness and most importantly, malnutrition.

3. No Regulated Diet

This is a commonly found problem. Irregular consuming of food could result in malnutrition. Breakfast, lunch, as well as supper, must always be consumed at the right time. Irregular consumption could cause improper digestion leading to malnutrition.

4. Unclean Environment

An Unclean environment in the workplace or at home is one among the leading causes of malnutrition. The workplace or the home environment tends to get dirty if it lacks proper sunlight, pure fresh air or clean places. This will hamper the needed nutrition among people.

5. No Proper Rest or Sound Sleep

Suffocating sleep area and low space will tamper the sleep of a person. Extensive watching of television, spending time on the internet would cause insufficient sleep. This is known to have an impact on digestion in the body. When improper digestion happens, malnutrition happens!

6. Negligence

This one sums it up all! If you are negligent towards the health of your body, you will certainly not concentrate upon a proper food habit, and that will only lead to malnutrition.

7. Diseases in The Body

People who are infected by any disease must necessarily have a balanced diet. If this does not happen, it could hinder the proper functioning of the body. When this happens, malnutrition eventually surfaces!

8. Extensive Work

Let’s all agree upon this. Our daily work schedule which is filled with hectic deadlines makes us less focused on our health. As a result, we do not consume food time to time, and even when we do, we don’t consider if we are taking in sufficient nutrients. Moreover, when it is more of a field work, people need to consume proper food!

9. No Exercise or Games

We feel we don’t even have enough time for others, forget about spending time for ourselves! Our hectic life has made us so ignorant that we don’t even care to involve in games or exercises. When we don’t do it, it tampers with the digestion process and leads to malnutrition.

10. Dysphagia

This is a disorder wherein the affected person finds it difficult to eat food due to aching of the teeth. People affected with this disorder will even find it difficult to swallow food. This would lead to malnutrition. And when malnutrition happens, the condition only worsens due to mouth blockage or throat blockage. Make sure you consult a doctor if you have any such symptoms!

Other causes of malnutrition could be;

  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Certain medications
  • Nausea, Diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Illness related to digestive processes like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Severe burns, injury or aftermath of surgical procedures
  • Lack of balanced diet in pregnant women
  • Premature birth of babies
  • Heart defects, cystic fibrosis other diseases that prevail for a long time!

Do you know the Hormone Balancing Foods? Let’s know about 10 Foods to Balance Hormone in The Body!

What are The Effects of Malnutrition?

The effects observed due to malnutrition differs in each person. But, there are a few generic symptoms that would confirm malnutrition.

Here are Symptoms of Undernutrition

  • Severe loss of the adipose tissues
  • Problem in breathing, along with frequent respiratory disorders
  • Severely less body temperature
  • Depression
  • A fall in the count of white blood cells
  • Regular infections followed by delayed recovery
  • Healing of wounds get delayed
  • Lowered libido
  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Extreme tiredness of fatigue
  • Alopecia
  • Severely dry scalp or skin
  • In extreme cases, it could even lead to organ failure

Here are Symptoms of Overnutrition

The other face of the coin is even more unsettling. An obese person could be under a huge risk of malnourishment since he or she only tend to consume fattening foods frequently. Here are the symptoms.

  • High BMI
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Higher waist to hip proportion
  • Anxiety, stress or irritability
  • Depression
  • Irregular periods
  • Low or no libido
  • Polycystic ovarian disorder
  • Premature graying of hair
  • Dry skin

Preventing Malnutrition

You must recognize the main cause and also the magnitude of the aftermath if you want to treat the problem effectively. If the cause is related to a medical problem, it must be catered to and cured very soon. When the cause is dealt with, you must plan a diet filled with nutrients so that you can heal the effects of malnutrition.

The only way to eradicate malnutrition, from either sides of the coin, is to ensure that you always consume a balanced diet. For this to happen, you must include these major elements in the food.

  • Carbohydrates
  • Proteins
  • Vegetables
  • Healthy fats
  • Fruits
  • Milk or other dairy products
  • Ensure you consume at least a liter and a half of water everyday


As we witnessed, malnutrition isn’t solely about your diet. It is also about your attitude, your lifestyle and many other things. If you have to deal with the problem, you are supposed to change the way you look at food. Ensure that exercise is mandatory in your everyday life.

Have anything more to add, take the space on the comment section below!

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