Causes of Malnutrition: Effects, Treatment and Prevention

The lack of nutrients could hinder the proper development of the body’s functions, leaving it defenseless against any attack of various diseases.

It also leaves it defenseless to certain health conditions, such as rickets, stunted growth or even organ failure.

It is a condition that any individual can present without any distinction when consuming nutrients in an insufficient, unbalanced or excessive way. This can damage many vital organs and functions of your body.

On the other hand, overfeeding may also have similar results, since the person is a victim of obesity, hypertension , diabetes and heart attacks .

What causes malnutrition?

Malnutrition could arise from many factors. While undernutrition among the poor mostly arises due to lack of availability of adequate nutritious food, overfeeding may be a consequence of a sedentary lifestyle and inadequate functioning of the thyroid gland or PCOD.

Malnutrition could be generated by:

Lack of a balanced diet: it is produced by the lack of essential nutrients for the organism such as proteins, carbohydrates, fats in your daily meal.

People who have limited knowledge about the right foods to consume daily are affected by a diet low in vitamins, minerals and proteins that cause malnutrition and this leads to a progressive weight loss or overweight.

Indigestible diet: are harmful to health and may be among the main causes of malnutrition do not contain the nutrients necessary for a balanced diet

They can cause loss of appetite and cause liver or kidney disease and chronic infections.

Lack of a regulated diet: imbalance in feeding schedules and bad eating habits can cause malnutrition, among other long-term illnesses and indigestion.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner should always be taken at the right time and are the basic meals that the body needs for a good performance.

Bodily diseases: no individual is absolved of suffering from any disease that decreases, reduces or eliminates the appetite and leaving food intake for prolonged periods can generate malnutrition.

Lack of exercise or sports activities: malnutrition can also be caused by lack of physical activity by slowing down the digestive process which does not allow the body to absorb nutrients from food.

Lack of nutritious food: people who suffer from eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa may have problems maintaining adequate levels of nutrition.

Dysphagia : some may have difficulty eating due to the painful condition of the teeth as well as the blockage of the throat caused by other diseases.

Poverty: very often poverty is another important reason behind malnutrition. People can not afford to buy nutritious food, which degenerates their body in the short or long term resulting in malnutrition.

Other causes degenerate malnutrition are:

  • The excessive consumption of drugs and alcohol.
  • Chronic digestive diseases
  • Some medications
  • Invasive surgical procedures without care after the intervention.
  • Deficit of a balanced diet in pregnancy.
  • Congenital heart disease, cancer, cystic fibrosis and other diseases.


They vary depending on the individual and the condition they present, but the most common are:

  • Extreme loss of adipose tissue.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Apathetic state of mind
  • Low body temperatures.
  • Frequent infections and delayed recovery.
  • Slow process of wound healing.
  • Irregular menstrual cycles.
  • Extreme levels of fatigue and fatigue.
  • Loss of calcium
  • Hair loss.
  • Extremely dry skin
  • Persistent digestive disorders.

How to treat malnutrition?

You must identify the root cause and severity of malnutrition to treat the condition. If the root cause is a medical disorder, then it needs to be addressed and cured in the first place.

Once the underlying cause is eliminated, the next course of action would be to put the person involved in a properly planned nutritious diet to alleviate the remaining signs of malnutrition.

A typical malnutrition treatment program will come with an exclusive diet plan along with a set of nutritional supplements, depending on the severity of the case.

In extreme cases, patients receive tube feeding to receive the proper amount of nutrients. Then, the person is kept under strict control to ensure that the recovery is on the route.

In cases of overnutrition, the person is asked to reduce the supplements or foods that have triggered this condition.

In case of obesity, the treatment will be decided based on the total body weight. While there are no exact ways to determine the correct weight for your height.

How to prevent severe malnutrition?

The only way to avoid malnutrition, which means both ends of this broad spectrum, is to make sure that your meals are always balanced. And for this, you must include the following main food groups in your diet:

  • Proteins
  • Carbohydrates
  • Vegetables.
  • Fruits.
  • Healthy fats
  • Milk and other milk sources.
  • Be sure to drink at least 1.5 liters of water per day.