Fresh Produce

Nutrition

Malnutrition

Malnutrition is characterized by a lack of dietary nutrients in an individual. Malnutrition involves growth stunting and unintentional weight loss and affects 462 million individuals worldwide, who are underweight. It is also possible to be overweight and nutrient deficient. Malnutrition is characterized by a BMI (body mass index) less than 18.5 and may involve:

  • Weakness

  • Fatigue

  • Bloating

  • Weakened immune system

  • Lack of interest in eating and drinking

  • Growth stunting or lack of weight gain in children

  • Frequent illness

  • Bruising easily

  • Achy joints

  • Dizziness

  • Rashes

  • Changes in skin pigmentation

Malnutrition can be caused by a variety of factors, including malabsorption syndromes, certain cancers, and low socioeconomic status. To treat and prevent malnutrition, it is important to eat a healthy, balanced diet containing fruits, vegetables, foods containing starch (bread, potatoes, pasta, rice), healthy milk and dairy products or non-dairy alternatives, and healthy proteins such as meat, eggs, beans, and fish. In some cases, malnutrition may require additional supplements or nutritional drinks. For malnourished individuals, it is important to eat foods high in calories and protein, snack between meals, and consume healthy drinks with a significant amount of calories. In severe cases, malnutrition may require feeding intravenously or through a gastrointestinal tube.