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The other face of MALNUTRITION

The other face of MALNUTRITION suming the body's energy, by reducing the In earlier articles in this issue, we have shown how the incidence of some body's absorption of food, by draining away types of diseases, those that are caused by long term consumption of an nutrients through diarrhoea or vomiting, over-rich diet, can be reduced. Here we look briefly at and by depressing the appetite so that the child simply doesn't want to eat. Deadly alliance In practice, the relative importance of infec­ tion and poor diets is less important than the truly deadly alliance between them. If a The other face of child is malnourished, infection is both more likely and more severe: children with even moderate malnutrition are three times as likely to get diarrhoeal infections and ten times more likely to die from an infection MALNUTRITION like measles. Conversely, a child with an infection is also more likely to become malnourished: frequent diarrhoeal infections can cut a child's growth rate in half and measles can 'In the last year alone, the number of children who have died in the developing world take away up to 10 per cent of a child's is the equivalent of the entire under-five population of the United States. On a bodyweight. European scale, it is as if the combined young child population of Britain, France, It is this vicious circle of malnutrition and Italy, Spain and West Germany had been wiped out.' — The State of the World's infection which is constantly assaulting the Children report 1984 (UNICEF) growth of millions of the world's children. For those who live in the poorest areas of the world, it means an average of 160 days illness a year. And every one of those UNICEF's 1984 report calls for a 'children's tion. But there are other equally important illnesses is an assault on the child's growth. revolution' — using low-cost techniques to causes. Intestinal parasites can cause mal­ If the assaults are just too frequent—and save the lives of seven million children a nutrition by consuming up to 25 per cent of the recovery time in-between is just too year. But behind the report is an unspoken a child's calorie intake. Changing from short — then the child dies. But those who appeal for a more sophisticated under­ breastfeeding to bottle-feeding can expose survive do not escape unscarred. With well standing of the problem of child malnutri­ a child to both malnutrition and infection at over three quarters of brain and body tion. the same time. growth scheduled to occur in these early years, no child can afford so many setbacks Malnutrition is usually presented to the Not knowing that supplementary foods public — especially in the rich countries — (in addition to breastmilk) are necessary to normal growth and development. as pictures of starving children. But only in from about the fourth or fifth month onwards 'The consequence for hundreds of mil­ extreme cases, says UNICEF, is malnutri­ leads to almost certain malnutrition. And lions of children,' says the UNICEF report, tion visible to the naked eye. The most lack of knowledge about a child's special 'is that never in their lives will they fulfil their common symptoms are invisible — low nutritional needs — and how to meet them potential. For the sake of the mental and energy, slow growth, and reduced resist­ — can cause malnutrition even in house­ physical growth of children, and for the ance. holds where adequate food is always avail­ economic and social development of their able. But the most important cause of all is A typical well-nourished European child, nations, that cycle of malnutrition and infec­ infection. for example, spends up to two-and-a-half tion must somehow be broken into.' times as much energy in running and walk­ This feature appeared earlier in Oxfam News Infections cause the malnutrition by con­ ing as a moderately malnourished child in a poor community in Africa. And this 'energy saving' usually happens just at the time when play and environmental stimulation Good nutrition rewarded are vital for the development of mental and physical skills. Malnutrition in the Philippines is an enor­ ● Plant green, leafy vegetables mous problem1. In a nation-wide survey in ● Achieve weight gain in their babies Slow growth 1976, all children under six years old were ● Return to the Health Centre each month Just as important, a malnourished child weighed. Forty-seven per cent weighed be­ grows more slowly. Instead of letting the This scheme was applied to three similar tween 76-90 per cent of the average of child's genetic potential determine its villages but the reward system affected adequately-fed Philippine children, 25 per growth, the body begins to struggle against only two. In the first village, the reward was cent were between the 61st and 75th cen- itself to keep growth down to a level which a health coupon (a ticket for a draw, the tiles, six per cent were below the 60th cen- its food intake can sustain. But still the prizes being sacks of rice, corn or other tile. The mothers are literate and know that food items). In the second village, a colour problem is invisible. Not even the most breast feeding and supplementing the diet loving mother or the most qualified photograph print of the mother and her are important but they have difficulty in baby was the reward. Both kinds of reward paediatrician can detect slow growth just by putting these principles into practice. In worked equally well but in the third village, looking. order to reinforce their efforts a team made where nutrition education and medical ser­ What the parents may well notice is that up of physicians, a psychologist and a nutri­ vices were offered without rewards, the the child seems to live from one minor tionist set out five tasks that the mothers babies continued to show poor growth. illness to another—always suffering from a should follow. When they were carried out cold or diarrhoea or a fever. And here lies satisfactorily, the mothers were rewarded. the heart of the malnutrition story. For fre­ The mothers were encouraged to: quent infection is both the chief cause and a Reference chief consequence. ● Continue to breast feed 1. Guthrie GM. Prizes for prudent mothers. Ca- Lack of food is one reason for malnutri­ ● Supplement their milk with other foods janus 1981; 14:4. November/December 1984 21 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Nutrition & Food Science Emerald Publishing

The other face of MALNUTRITION

Nutrition & Food Science , Volume 84 (6): 1 – Jun 1, 1984

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
0034-6659
DOI
10.1108/eb059042
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

suming the body's energy, by reducing the In earlier articles in this issue, we have shown how the incidence of some body's absorption of food, by draining away types of diseases, those that are caused by long term consumption of an nutrients through diarrhoea or vomiting, over-rich diet, can be reduced. Here we look briefly at and by depressing the appetite so that the child simply doesn't want to eat. Deadly alliance In practice, the relative importance of infec­ tion and poor diets is less important than the truly deadly alliance between them. If a The other face of child is malnourished, infection is both more likely and more severe: children with even moderate malnutrition are three times as likely to get diarrhoeal infections and ten times more likely to die from an infection MALNUTRITION like measles. Conversely, a child with an infection is also more likely to become malnourished: frequent diarrhoeal infections can cut a child's growth rate in half and measles can 'In the last year alone, the number of children who have died in the developing world take away up to 10 per cent of a child's is the equivalent of the entire under-five population of the United States. On a bodyweight. European scale, it is as if the combined young child population of Britain, France, It is this vicious circle of malnutrition and Italy, Spain and West Germany had been wiped out.' — The State of the World's infection which is constantly assaulting the Children report 1984 (UNICEF) growth of millions of the world's children. For those who live in the poorest areas of the world, it means an average of 160 days illness a year. And every one of those UNICEF's 1984 report calls for a 'children's tion. But there are other equally important illnesses is an assault on the child's growth. revolution' — using low-cost techniques to causes. Intestinal parasites can cause mal­ If the assaults are just too frequent—and save the lives of seven million children a nutrition by consuming up to 25 per cent of the recovery time in-between is just too year. But behind the report is an unspoken a child's calorie intake. Changing from short — then the child dies. But those who appeal for a more sophisticated under­ breastfeeding to bottle-feeding can expose survive do not escape unscarred. With well standing of the problem of child malnutri­ a child to both malnutrition and infection at over three quarters of brain and body tion. the same time. growth scheduled to occur in these early years, no child can afford so many setbacks Malnutrition is usually presented to the Not knowing that supplementary foods public — especially in the rich countries — (in addition to breastmilk) are necessary to normal growth and development. as pictures of starving children. But only in from about the fourth or fifth month onwards 'The consequence for hundreds of mil­ extreme cases, says UNICEF, is malnutri­ leads to almost certain malnutrition. And lions of children,' says the UNICEF report, tion visible to the naked eye. The most lack of knowledge about a child's special 'is that never in their lives will they fulfil their common symptoms are invisible — low nutritional needs — and how to meet them potential. For the sake of the mental and energy, slow growth, and reduced resist­ — can cause malnutrition even in house­ physical growth of children, and for the ance. holds where adequate food is always avail­ economic and social development of their able. But the most important cause of all is A typical well-nourished European child, nations, that cycle of malnutrition and infec­ infection. for example, spends up to two-and-a-half tion must somehow be broken into.' times as much energy in running and walk­ This feature appeared earlier in Oxfam News Infections cause the malnutrition by con­ ing as a moderately malnourished child in a poor community in Africa. And this 'energy saving' usually happens just at the time when play and environmental stimulation Good nutrition rewarded are vital for the development of mental and physical skills. Malnutrition in the Philippines is an enor­ ● Plant green, leafy vegetables mous problem1. In a nation-wide survey in ● Achieve weight gain in their babies Slow growth 1976, all children under six years old were ● Return to the Health Centre each month Just as important, a malnourished child weighed. Forty-seven per cent weighed be­ grows more slowly. Instead of letting the This scheme was applied to three similar tween 76-90 per cent of the average of child's genetic potential determine its villages but the reward system affected adequately-fed Philippine children, 25 per growth, the body begins to struggle against only two. In the first village, the reward was cent were between the 61st and 75th cen- itself to keep growth down to a level which a health coupon (a ticket for a draw, the tiles, six per cent were below the 60th cen- its food intake can sustain. But still the prizes being sacks of rice, corn or other tile. The mothers are literate and know that food items). In the second village, a colour problem is invisible. Not even the most breast feeding and supplementing the diet loving mother or the most qualified photograph print of the mother and her are important but they have difficulty in baby was the reward. Both kinds of reward paediatrician can detect slow growth just by putting these principles into practice. In worked equally well but in the third village, looking. order to reinforce their efforts a team made where nutrition education and medical ser­ What the parents may well notice is that up of physicians, a psychologist and a nutri­ vices were offered without rewards, the the child seems to live from one minor tionist set out five tasks that the mothers babies continued to show poor growth. illness to another—always suffering from a should follow. When they were carried out cold or diarrhoea or a fever. And here lies satisfactorily, the mothers were rewarded. the heart of the malnutrition story. For fre­ The mothers were encouraged to: quent infection is both the chief cause and a Reference chief consequence. ● Continue to breast feed 1. Guthrie GM. Prizes for prudent mothers. Ca- Lack of food is one reason for malnutri­ ● Supplement their milk with other foods janus 1981; 14:4. November/December 1984 21

Journal

Nutrition & Food ScienceEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 1, 1984

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