What Is Malnutrition?

2451 Words10 Pages
Kelsey Harrison
August 8, 2014
Malnutrition is one of the biggest healthcare problems that I noticed while working in Swaziland. The lecture Dr. Pawelos gave really opened up my eyes to malnutrition, in kids especially, when we were out working in the field. Before traveling, I assumed that we would see malnutrition cases but I wasn’t aware of how many we’d see and how many different types of malnutrition we would encounter. There are several types of malnutrition, in general, but there are a few main types occurring in the kids that live in Swaziland. The different types of malnutrition are occurring due to the types of food available to the kids, and how many meals they are given a day. However, there are also steps being
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Malnutrition also results from the inability to absorb or metabolize nutrients (Malnutrition). The different types of malnutrition result from a deficiency in a specific nutrient or vitamin. For example, kwashiorkor is a condition caused by severe protein deficiency (Kwashiorkor). It is based on a diet of mainly starchy foods such as grains, cassava, plantain, and sweet potatoes. Kwashiorkor causes potbelly, edema, weakness, irritability, dry skin with rash, reddish-orange hair discoloration, diarrhea, anemia, and fat deposits in the liver (Kwashiorkor). A less extreme type of malnutrition is called marasmus. It is also a lack of protein and energy with sufferers appearing skeletally thin (Types of…show more content…
First and foremost, the most important way to fight malnutrition is to educate people. A lot of Swazi’s don’t have the basic knowledge about human health that Americans learn in school. They should be educated to know what constitutes as a healthy, balanced diet. They also can be taught how to get it. Some Swazi children are being taught basic farming skills, so if they do not have the money or a way to get to a grocery store or a market, they are able to have a few vegetables or fruit at their house (UN World Food Program). They could grow maize, or cabbage. This would help exponentially because then if the kids are orphans, or if they become orphaned, they will still be able to eat some foods they have growing in their yard. The kids will also have the knowledge of how to grow things. They will also know or continue to learn in school what they need to eat to stay healthy. We need to work with the Swazis so we could learn what works with their culture and what doesn’t. For example, the co-founder of SOHO told us a story about a farming club that came to Swaziland to plant fruits and vegetables for the people. The group didn’t work with the Swazi’s; they just planted their food in a lot of big gardens all over in hopes that it would feed some of the people. The only problem was, they didn’t take into account the Swazi’s cultural beliefs. Once the gardeners left, a lot of Swazi’s went and ripped up every garden the

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