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 specific health conditions, such as rickets, stunted growth, or 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 primarily poor occurs due to a lack of adequate nutritious food, overfeeding may result from 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, and 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, leading to progressive weight loss or being overweight.

Indigestible diets: are harmful to health and may be among the leading causes of malnutrition, and 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 body’s essential meals for good performance.

Bodily diseases: no individual is absolved of suffering from any condition 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 a lack of physical activity by slowing 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 nutrition levels.

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

Poverty: very often, poverty is another crucial 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 of 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.
  • The slow process of wound healing.
  • Irregular menstrual cycles.
  • Extreme levels of fatigue and fatigue.
  • Loss of calcium
  • Hair loss.
  • Dehydrated skin
  • Persistent digestive disorders.

How to treat malnutrition?

To treat the condition, you must identify malnutrition’s root cause and severity. 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 following 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 and a set of nutritional supplements, depending on the severity of the case.

In extreme cases, patients receive tube feeding to receive the proper 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 the case of obesity, the treatment will be decided based on the total body weight. At the same time, 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 ensure 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.