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Nourish to Flourish – Tackling Malnutrition

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Every morning when I sit up to plan for the food to be prepared, seldom we do I realize that there are millions of people who are less fortunate even to have a proper one time meal. Why? This is because food, like many other things is unequally distributed throughout the world.


Since centuries, there is the struggle for enough food. Back in primitive days, the first task of the human beings was for the search for food. But now the reason is totally different. Malnutrition occurs due to lack of essential nutrients, resulting in poorer health, may be caused by a number of conditions or circumstances.


Poor nutrition due to an insufficient, poorly balanced diet, faulty digestion or poor utilization of food is known as malnutrition. It is not only insufficient intake of nutrients but can also occur when an individual is getting excessive nutrients as well. In many developing countries chronic malnutrition is widespread.


This could be simply because people do not have enough food to eat. Often you get to see that in more wealthy industrialized nations, malnutrition is usually caused due to poor diet, mental health problems, mobility problems, digestive disorders and stomach conditions.


We humans need a wide variety of nutrients to supply essential energy that includes protein, vitamins and minerals. Even if any one of these nutrients is deficient in person’s diet, he/ she may suffer from malnutrition. Malnutrition also occurs when there is an imbalance of energy and protein in an individual’s diet.


The body may become unable to absorb the nutrients it requires to function properly. For example, if a child is suffering from energy and protein malnutrition, they will most likely have deficiencies in iron, calcium and other vitamins and minerals.


Some of the major factors that could cause Malnutrition in India are: Illiteracy Poverty Low per capita income Low social status of Indian women Lack of knowledge Lack of knowledge about government programs Not good hygiene practice Malnutrition affects usually those individuals who are dependent on others for their nourishment like infants, children, elderly people and prisoners.


Mentally disabled or ill because they are not aware of what to eat or people who are suffering from tuberculosis, eating disorders, cancer etc or who have undergone surgical procedures are susceptible to interferences with appetite or food uptake which can lead to malnutrition.


Specific actions to be taken to increase the impact for nutrition: Feeding practices and behavior: Encouraging exclusive breafeeding up to 6 months of age and continued breastfeeding together with appropriate and nutritious food up to 2 years of age and beyond.


Fortification of foods: Enabling access to nutrients through incorporating them into foods Micronutrient supplementation: Direct provision of extra nutrients Treatment of acute malnutrition: Enabling persons with moderate and severe malnutrition to access effective treatment.


Clean water and sanitation: improving access to reduce infection and disease. However, the objective is to improve the overall health of the community. The problem of the in a equate nutrition can only be adequately tackled by the close co-operation and co-ordination of effort between administrators, elected representatives of the people, voluntary organizations, international bodies and ultimately by the people them­selves.


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