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Malnutrition is defined as a lack or excess of nutrients, an imbalance of essential nutrients, or poor nutrient utilization. It includes both undernutrition, obesity, and associated diseases. Malnutrition, which is recognised as a global health crisis, puts individuals at risk for a variety of diseases. The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) vision has played an important role in this regard. Malnutrition should be treated as an additional disease due to its negative impact on clinical outcomes, which increases morbidity, mortality, and costs. Fortunately. Timely nutritional interventions can both prevent and treat malnutrition. The issue’s often-overlooked nature is due to a lack of awareness, understanding, and clinical guidelines in hospitals. 


Unravelling the causes of malnutrition reveals a complex web of factors that contribute to its development. Aside from the obvious issues of inadequate food consumption and societal challenges such as poverty, malnutrition is influenced by a variety of factors. Diseases such as anorexia, infections that interfere with food intake, metabolic impairments, vitamin deficiencies, trauma, gastrointestinal disorders, and even low educational levels all contribute to malnutrition. Furthermore, among the elderly, insufficient dentistry emerges as a significant factor, tying physical health to oral health. Subtle symptoms like loss of appetite and altered taste exacerbate the malnutrition problem, emphasizing the importance of identifying multiple contributing factors.


Anthropometry, including body mass index (BMI), circumferences, and skinfolds, is crucial for diagnosing malnutrition. These methods are portable, universally applicable, cost-effective, and non-invasive providing information about the size, proportions, and composition of the human body. 

  • Weight and Derive Indices: 

    • Body weight is the most commonly used bodily measure in practical applications. It focuses on body weight, fluctuations, and BMI.

  • Body Mass Index (BMI):

    • Determines the relationship between weight and height, indicating malnutrition or obesity. 

  • Circumferences and Skinfolds:

    • Measurements such as mid-arm circumference and skinfold thickness help to determine body composition and muscle mass. 


Malnutrition may adversely affect the body in a variety of ways. Let’s break it down:

  • Muscle Function:

    • Malnutrition frequently causes weight loss by affecting muscle function before visible changes in mass.

  • Body Composition:

    • Depletes tissue reserves, which affects functional capacity and metabolic state. 

  • Cardiorespiratory Function:

    • Malnourished individuals may have a reduction in cardiac muscle mass, which impairs renal function and may result in cardiac complications.

  • Gastrointestinal Function:

    • Alters pancreatic function and intestinal blood flow, which may result in diarrhoea in severe cases. 

  • Immunity and Wound Healing:

    • Reduces immune function and slows wound healing. 

  • Psychosocial Effects:

    • Despite physical consequences, malnutrition also has psychological effects, such as apathy, depression, anxiety, and self-neglect. 

Malnutrition has a wide-ranging impact on the body, affecting everything from muscle function and body composition to cardiovascular, respiratory, and gastrointestinal systems, immunity, and even psychological well-being. Addressing malnutrition needs a comprehensive approach that restores both physical and mental health. 



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