MALNUTRITION; A Pandemic on its own.
Over the years, lives have been lost due to a pandemic that has been ignored for years as its concept is being misunderstood. People think it dwells only in the midst of the poor and cannot be seen amongst the rich, but surprisingly it dwells even amongst the rich and kills silently using different cover-ups.
World Health Organization (2016) refers to malnutrition as deficiencies, excesses, or imbalances in a person's intake of energy and/or nutrients. The term malnutrition covers two (2) broad groups of conditions. One is 'undernutrition'- which includes stunting (low height for age), wasting (low weight for height), underweight (low weight for age) and micronutrient deficiencies or insufficiencies (a lack of important vitamins and minerals).
The other is overweight, obesity, and diet-related noncommunicable diseases (such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer).
However, micronutrient deficiencies can also occur with overnutrition as it is possible to be overweight or obese from excessive calorie consumption but not get enough vitamins and minerals at the same time.
Furthermore, the symptoms of malnutrition depend greatly on the type; while overnutrition presents with overweight and obesity, undernutrition presents with weight loss, delayed wound healing, depression and anxiety, irritability, fatigue, loss of fat and muscle mass, dry hair, and lots of other symptoms.
Moreover, low intake of food, lifestyle, social and mobility problems, mental health condition, digestive disorders, and stomach conditions, alcohol use disorder amongst others are various factors that can result in malnutrition.
All in all, to prevent malnutrition, people need to consume a range of nutrients from a variety of food types in a balanced proportion. Older adults, young children and people with chronic illnesses may need additional care to ensure that they obtain the nutrients they need.
Unlike the present coronavirus pandemic, combating malnutrition is a lot easier. Eating diets that have all the six (6) classes of food in the right and balanced proportions and at the right time will do a lot in handling the situation and will further boost the body's immune system against other diseases including the coronavirus.