The youth ambassador for Nigeria and youth leader for nutrition, Scaling Up Nutrition Civil Society Network (SUN CSN), Maryam Ahmed, has described malnutrition as excesses or imbalances in a person’s intake of nutrients which the body requires for optimal growth and development.
She said malnutrition is also a condition that occurs when the nutrients from what an individual feeds on are not enough for their body or are too much for their body.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are four broad forms of malnutrition: undernutrition, protein deficiency, micro nutrient-related malnutrition and overweight/obesity. Also, unhealthy diets and poor nutrition are among the top risk factors for diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases globally.
According to Ms. Maryam, “Many of us hear the word malnutrition but we do not quite know its negative impacts on health.”
She said: “A malnourished person has a high-risk of slower immune response, which increases the risk of getting infections and increases the length of time that it takes to recover from infections. It can also lead to breathing difficulties, and an increased risk of chest infection and respiratory failure, wounds take longer to heal and illnesses take longer to recover from, among others.”
Malnutrition can happen to anyone and at any stage of life. Women, infants, children, and adolescents are at particular risk of malnutrition. It is important to optimize nutrition early in life—including the 1000 days from conception to a child’s second birthday—this ensures the best possible start in life, with long-term benefits.
Malnutrition has a lot of negative impacts on individuals. For babies and children, malnutrition prevents proper mental development, which can lead to low IQ. It also makes children more prone to preventable childhood killer diseases. For adults, malnutrition can lead to mental health issues, low motivation or energy to work, sleeping disorders and also increased risk of death from preventable diseases. Leadership