Nutritional Imbalance, also known as malnutrition or malnourishment, means excessive, insufficient, or imbalanced intake of nutrients. We often associate malnutrition with only the lack of nutrients; where nutrients can also bring you in trouble if taken in excessive or imbalanced amount.
What is Malnutrition or Malnourishment?
Malnutrition is a state with lack of nutrients or specific nutrients that are required for growth, maintenance, and proper mechanism of body functions.
This state is a nutritional imbalance which shows the difference between nutrients that our body needs and nutrients that our body gets. This might happen because of majorly three reasons:
Over Nutrition (Excessive Consumption)
Over-nutrition, that is, too much consumption of calories or nutrients that are used by organism in expending (absorbing) or expelling (removing). The excessive consumption of sustenance ultimately leads to poor health and obesity. Other results can cause brittle nails, hair loss and irregular premenstrual cycle in females.
Under Nutrition (Insufficient Consumption)
Under-nutrition, that is, less consumption of calories or specific nutrients that are used for fulfilling the energy need of body for organism absorption, expels and expends. The insufficient consumption of sustenance leads to poor health, diseases and disorders.
Imbalanced Nutrition (Unbalanced Consumption)
Imbalanced nutrition refers to improper ratio of nutrients. When we intake certain nutrients more and more everyday for a longer period of time and simultaneously keep avoiding the consumption of other important nutrients, such a diet is said to be improper, unhealthy and unbalanced.
All three states: over-nutrition, under-nutrition and imbalanced nutrition result to malnutrition or nutritional imbalance.
Eye-Opener: The Facts
The most awaking fact is this world has more malnourished people than insufficient nutrition takers. So, nutritional imbalance is a bigger concern than lack of nutrition in humans, if talk about the current scenario of the world as per World Health Organization. In developing countries, insufficient nutrition is greater problem in comparison to starvation.
Causes of Malnutrition
Now what irks here is the root cause of malnutrition about which most of us are unaware. The causes of nutritional imbalance or improper nutrients are directly associated with inadequate consumption of macronutrients, and indirectly linked with eye-opening factors like:
- Maternal care
- Child care
- Household food security
- Health services
Nutrients behind Malnutrition
Various nutrients such as simple carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates, saturated fat, unsaturated fat, trans fat, fats, omega-3 fats, omega-6 fats, cholesterol, protein, sodium, iron, iodine, Vitamin A, B1, B2, B12 and Vitamin C, D, E, K, calcium, magnesium and potassium play vital role in nutritional imbalance.
Malnutrition: Diseases and Disorders
Both their deficiency and excess can lead you towards a disease or disorders.
A poor diet that does not provide proper nutrition can cause many health problems such as:
- Preterm birth
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Mental agility
- Mental disorders
- It can also push you towards chronic diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, where some chronic cases of malnutrition can cause marasmus.
- The acute cases of nutrition deficiency because of poor diet can result to Kwashiokor.
- Lack of nutrition affects the performance level too. Other than low academic performance and scores, nutrition deficiency also decreases overall productivity.
- Malnutrition can be the biggest factor or cause of cancer, death and disabilities.
Nutrition Challenges to the World
Where in kids, child malnutrition is the biggest global nutrition challenge, grown-ups and adults are also not untouched. Obesity, adult overweight, mental disorders, vitamin deficiency, mineral malnutrition and diseases are some growing issues that we deal with and remove by increasing awareness.
How to Keep Malnutrition at Bay?
Other than nutrition education and awareness, we all need to understand the importance and significance of balanced diet. We also need to learn how to read and use the nutrition label mentioned on the food packages. Understanding nutrition facts label or nutrition information panel or nutritional values can help reducing the effects of nutritional imbalance.