Malnutrition in children



Malnutrition is a condition that the body develops when it doesn't get enough and the right amount of nutrients and minerals. It occurs in people who are either under nourished or over nourished. Under nourishment occurs when people consume too few nutrients that are essential or a case where the body depletes or use them at a faster rate than at which they are being replaced. Over nutrition on the under hand is the result of eating too much or eating of too many of un-required nutrients. This policy brief aims at analyzing the key inherent factors that have leads to the occurrence of malnutrition in both the developing countries and developing counties, it also aims at giving out the policy solution that major stake holders have come up with in relation to the disease and the teething as well as he implementation problems that are being experienced by the government and other actors in taming the disease. (World Health Organization.2000).


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This brief aims at giving a brief over view to the policy makers of the government, non governmental institutions and other organization dealing with the pandemic; on the few policies that they can apply in dealing with the disease as well as the problem that they can expect to encounter in application of these policies. It also aims at expounding on the positive impact that they can gain by applying these policies in terms of legal, social, economic and political terms. Better health for the children will definitely result into a better world tomorrow and it will see a reduction on the infant mortality rate.


Nutrients are needed to maintain healthy tissues and for the right and better function of the body organs. Malnutrition affects the body growth, morbidity mortality and the cognitive development plus the reproduction and the physical capacity of the body this impacts on the overall human being performance, health and in extension its survival presently and in the coming future too. Malnutrition is the under laying factor to many children's diseases and overall development In developed countries like the United States, malnutrition manifests itself in terms of dietary imbalance and it's a leading causes of death and disability The risk is increased by being overweight due to eating of a diet that is rich in fats and salt. (Alan N.Howard. 978). The national cancer institute based in the USA states that up to 20% of the cancer patients in the hospitals die out of malnutrition. The problem has aggravated by the convectional medical advice that suggest an individual eats whatever he/she wants and this has been known to promote malnutrition leading to a condition called cachexia. The food research and action center (FRAC) an NGO in the USA states that according to the US Department of Agriculture , 38 million Americans of which 13.9 million of them are children do live in household that suffer from hunger and malnutrition in the world . In developing countries it's a serious problem that affects up to 55 million children in a year who generally suffer from under nutrition that makes them to be susceptible to disease and infections like the diarrhea, parasitic infection, protein deficiency etc leading to the infant mortality. The major cause for malnutrition in the developing countries is the problem of people taking in food rich in calorie and is less nutritious with their increasingly less active lifestyle. For developing countries the root cause for malnutrition is the inadequate supply of the available as the world produces enough food that can feed every body. The problem is that the policies that relate to the purchasing power, food prices and the distribution practices are the major hindrance to getting food to the people who need it most. The inequity of the system is what leads to malnutrition with major impact on the demographic and socio economic factors. (Maurice W. Schiff & Alberto Valdés. 1990)


The factors that contribute to the malnutrition are many and varied e.g. the parents occupation, number of children family income marital status urban or rural residence etc. But poverty and lack of food are the primary reason. The economic gains that gross national products and the industrial out put of have not been reflected on the improvements on the lives of the people as there purchasing power has not increased. An example can be given of a bunch of banana that costs 35 dollars per pound in New York but costs 48 cents per pound (dollar as the medium) for the farmer in Uganda or Kenya. They have to work harder every year to buy the implements used for the food production this shows that the people in the developing countries are poorly paid for their production for their agricultural products and minerals that are a fixed by the west. Food distribution is closely interlinked with t the national policies of both the developed and the developing countries. A country like the united state raises over 200 pounds of grain ever year where a mere 150 is used for human consumption and the rest used as animal feed. The Russia imports grain to feed its animal while china a developing country produces over 700 pounds of cereal where 80% goes to feeding humans. This problem of malnutrition is as a result not of acts of nature but acts of people. (World Bank.1990).


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There is a need to improve the quality of life of the people. This will entail the understanding of the people an the policies that are being formulated hence have to increase there voices in the policy making, more support for democratic regimes by the USA( there is a correlation between democracy and development) and the increase of the pay for the poor people of the south


  • Linda K. De Bruyne et al. (2008.) Nutrition and diet therapy: principles and practice. Ed 7. Cengage Learning.
  • World Health Organization. (2000). Management of the child with a serious infection or severe malnutrition: guidelines for care at the first-referral level in developing countries. WHO.
  • Maurice W. Schiff & Alberto Valdés. (1990).The link between poverty and malnutrition: a household theoretic approach .Country Economics Dept., the World Bank
  • Alan N. Howard. (1978). Recent advances in obesity research, Vol 2. Newman
  • World Bank. (1990). World Development Report 1990. Vol 13. World Bank Publications