As UNICEF says, “poor nutrition goes far beyond hunger“. We can say that malnutrition can be caused by several factors and they are not necessarily directly related to hunger. So you may be wondering… What is malnutrition and how does it differ from malnutrition?
Let’s see it below!
Firstly, a person suffering from malnutrition is one who has a nutrient-poor diet. That is, it is the one who has an unbalanced diet and does not consume foods that provide nutrients necessary for your body.
The main reason is that they do not consume nutritious foods such as meat, fish, fruit or vegetables. But this can be due to two reasons:
It is true that malnutrition is often associated with poverty, since almost all families with a low income level have problems to be able to put a plate of food in their mouths every day. Therefore, in order to save on food, these people tend to buy cheap, poor quality food, which leads to inadequate nutrition.
On the other hand, there are also people who have never experienced any famine. However, they can also suffer from malnutrition, not because of lack of food, but because of overconsumption of food that does not provide them with any nutritional value.
These concepts are often spoken of as if they were one and the same, but it must be said that malnutrition and undernutrition are different concepts.
We have already seen what malnutrition is. But what is malnutrition? Malnutrition is when a person has a deficit or lack of nutrients in the body caused by little or no food intake.
As we can see, the main difference is that with malnutrition a person may not necessarily go hungry. However, malnutrition only occurs when a person has a caloric deficit because he or she cannot eat everything he or she needs.
There are several types of malnutrition depending on height and weight that determine whether a person is in a more or less serious health situation. The worst type of malnutrition is severe acute malnutrition, as this type of malnutrition can cause death. In these cases, the person has a weight lower than 30% of what it should be, so that their body functions are significantly altered.
Malnutrition affects many people, but the problem is even worse when the people who suffer from it are babies or children. Malnutrition at an early age can cause many problems in the development and growth of the child.
The consequences of child malnutrition are:
As mentioned in the first section of this article, there are two reasons why malnutrition can occur. One of them is due to the excess of not very nutritious food. This is what leads to obesity.
Childhood malnutrition by excess is when a child eats enough, even more than they need, but they are not getting what their body needs to grow and develop fully. This is because they eat poor quality food and their diet lacks other foods that would provide more nutrients, vitamins and minerals, which is what their body needs to develop properly.
This is more dangerous in children, because this is when they are in the growth stage and need to be fed in a nutritious way. A great balance between weight and height during the first two years of life is fundamental to avoid future health problems. In addition, childhood obesity can cause chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease or some types of cancer in children.
How can a social currency help reduce malnutrition? Yes, Comunitaria has created a social currency that can only be used to purchase fresh food in small neighborhood stores.
With this project, Comunitaria wants to contribute to one of the sustainable development goals “End hunger” and reduce the food insecurity of the most disadvantaged people. In addition, it also promotes local commerce in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods and their economy in general.