Malnutrition is an under-recognised and underdiagnosed healthcare issue all over the world especially among underdeveloped countries. Malnutrition is a condition that result from eating a diet in which one or more nutrients are either not enough or are too much such that diet cause health problems. It may involve calories, proteins, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins or minerals. Not enough nutrients is called undernutrition or undernourishment while too much is called overnutrition.
Malnutrition is often used to specifically refer to undernutrition where individual is not getting enough calories, proteins, or micronutrients. If undernutrition occurs during pregnancy, or before two years of age, it may result in permanent problem with physical and mental development. Extreme undernutrition is known as starvation, may have symptoms of short height, thin body, very poor energy level and swollen legs and abdomen. Adults who were undernourished as children are at risk of developing diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular issues. Bill Gates called Malnutrition the biggest missed opportunity in global health.
Malnutrition is a global problem. Millions of people are suffering from different forms of malnutrition. In fact, in 2014, 1.9 billion adults are overweight or obese while 462 million are underweight. Among children, 52 million under-fives are suffering from wasting, where they have low weight for height. Nearly 10 Million Pakistani children suffer from stunning. 8 out of 10children in Pakistan do not eat right type and quantity of food. Around one in ten children are born with a low birth weight, and in South Asia, it is one in four, and approximately 45% of deaths among children under five are linked to undernutrition. These deaths often occur in low and middle-income countries where childhood obesity level are rising at the same time.
“Malnutrition is a complex issue, but it is the main cause of death and disease in the world,” Dr. Branca says the developmental, economic, social and medical impacts of malnutrition are serious and long lasting. Events such as World Food Day (October 16) and International Day for Eradication of Poverty (October 17) will raise awareness of the problem. He wants governments and suppliers to work together to find sustainable, innovative and technological agricultural solutions to combat food insecurity. Cheap food tends not to be healthy food; we need government policies that make healthy food more available and affordable.
On 1 April 2016, the United Nation (UN) General Assembly proclaimed 2016-2025 “The United Nation Decade of Action on Nutrition.” The Decade is an unprecedented opportunity for addressing all forms of malnutrition. WHO aims for a world free of all forms of malnutrition, where all people achieve health and wellbeing. According to the 2016-2025 nutrition strategy, WHO work with member states and partners towards universal access to effective nutrition interventions and to healthy diet from sustainable and resilient food system.
On 26 January 2013, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan joined the SUN Movement with a letter of commitment from Muhammad Ayub, the Senior Chief Nutrition, Planning and Development division in Prime Minister’s office. The Government has approved Nutrition-specific and Health-integrated Nutrition projects in the provinces, along with ensuring nutrition inputs into Pakistan “Vision 2025” and five-year plan, through technical support by partners, particularly the UN. Pakistan’s multi-sectorial Nutrition Strategy is being formulated.
Author – Rtr. Muhammad Aasim Ali
Club – RaC Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan
RID – 3272