MALNUTRITION

Malnutrition refers to taking improper type or amount of food that may cause serious body malfunction or disorder if it’s been followed for long time.

Excessive intake food can cause health problems under what we call obesity. If you eat food more than you need, it can be restored as fat around your body what we call obesity. 

Although obesity is not recognized as a disease by some physicians, by itself but it can interfere with body function for sure and lead to some disease with mild or severe symptoms such as cardiovascular disease or even heart attack, so it must be considered as a serious health condition. Obesity can be prevented or cured by diets, exercise or drugs, fat burning in major.

 

Nutrition deficiency– or under-nutrition is called to the condition of insufficient amount of nutrients for a body that can’t provide enough energy for that human’s needs. Human body needs enough energy for both voluntary and involuntary activities to stay alive and healthy to function and develop properly.

Signs and symptoms of under-nutrition include:
  • lack of appetite or interest in food or drink.
  • tiredness and irritability.
  • inability to concentrate.
  • always feeling cold.
  • loss of fat, muscle mass, and body tissue.
  • higher risk of getting sick and taking longer to heal.
  • longer healing time for wounds
  •  hypothermia (the inability to maintain normal body temperature)

Malnutrition in children

Reliefweb reported from UN that-“Six million children are affected by life-threatening severe acute malnutrition in West and Central Africa. Multiple factors including land and crop degradation, periodic droughts and weather-related shocks, poverty, limited access to basic food staples and essential services, and population growth, contribute to emergency levels of malnutrition in the region.

Malnutrition is not only about lack of food; a combination of other causes lead to malnutrition in children, including: diet at home, illnesses such as malaria and water-borne diseases, limited access to clean water and sanitation infrastructure, and knowledge about safe hygiene practices, lack of access to health services, and inadequate child feeding practices.

 Malnutrition affects on children’s lives

Malnutrition puts children’s lives and future at risk. Timely treatment can save children’s lives; however, those who remain untreated are at risk of dying, delayed growth and impaired brain development – which impacts learning capacity and school performance, and labor force participation. Malnourished children also become more vulnerable to childhood diseases such as diarrhea and acute respiratory infections and may grow dependent of a lifetime of health care.

Beyond the immediate nutritional and health impacts of the nutrition crises in the West and Central Africa region, children’s education in the region has been disrupted by conflict and population displacements, exposing them to greater risks.

Treating malnutrition

The vast majority of children with severe acute malnutrition respond extremely well to treatment with Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food such as Plumpy’Nut, a fortified peanut butter-like paste containing fats, dietary fiber, carbohydrates, proteins and essential micronutrients. Calculations by UNICEF for several Sahel countries (The Sahel part of Africa includes, from west to east, parts of northern Senegal) show average recovery rates of between 85 and 90 percent in 2018.

Among the challenges, however, are the fact that only about half of all health facilities offer SAM treatment, supplies of RUTF are not always adequate to meet needs, some children are not brought back for follow-up, and many – far too many – do not arrive at treatment centres in time to save their lives.

UNICEF described it’s role to treat malnutrition:

  • In the short term, we work to address immediate needs to avoid a deterioration of the situation and prevent mortality in young children by supporting early detection and care for children suffering from severe acute malnutrition and providing ready-to-use therapeutic food for their treatment. We also provide access to water, sanitation and hygiene in health facilities and communities; and educate families on how to prepare and provide nutritious food to their children.
  • In the longer-term, we create the conditions for people to become self-reliant again, by promoting the availability, access and use of local food resources; improving health and other social services; promoting optimal infant and young child feeding practices so that households, communities and national systems are better prepared to prevent and deal with similar shocks in the future.
  • For a sustainable response against malnutrition, UNICEF advocates for increased national commitments in nutrition funding and policy actions such as including the treatment of severe acute malnutrition as part of national public health response and spending.

Innovations that save lives

UNICEF and its partners work across sectors to scale up the response in all countries through integrated programs involving the health, education, protection and water and sanitation sectors. For instance, in Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali, nutrition screening is now a part of seasonal malaria prevention campaigns. In Chad, Mauritania and Niger mobile clinics offering health and nutrition services were established to reach populations and communities in remote locations. In areas of Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali, mothers are being taught to assess their children’s nutritional status with a simple tool to improve early detection of acute malnutrition.”

 “Journalin”

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