Malnutrition is not just an undeveloped country reality; its affects are experienced globally. What is malnutrition; it is a condition that develops when the body does not get the right amount of the vitamins, and other nutrients, it needs to maintain healthy tissues and organ function.
The above definition indicates that it is possible to eat regularly, and still be malnourished; because the condition is caused, not only, by the unavailability of food, but also by the consumption of foods that are vitamin and nutrient poor.
The human body, in order to maintain a balanced or healthy state requires a daily intake of the following: seven major minerals, namely phosphorous, calcium, sodium, potassium, chlorine, sulfur and magnesium. In addition to these major minerals there are trace minerals that are considered to be essential for maximum health they are iron, iodine, cobalt (from vitamin B12), chromium, selenium, copper, fluorine, manganese, zinc and molybdenum.
What we eat, and how much, and how often we eat, are determining factors in both malnutrition and hunger. Many people consider these companion (Malnutrition, hunger) realities to happen only in developing countries or very poor regions, however, for 1 in 6 people in the United States, hunger is a daily experience.
Among those who go hungry are hard-working adults, children and seniors who simply cannot make ends meet and are forced to go without food for several meals, or even days.
A, perhaps surprisingly, related condition to malnutrition is obesity. At first, this may appear difficult to reconcile, but when you think about the fast food lifestyle many North Americans live, and the instant foods they eat; foods that often do not contain sufficient amounts of the vitamins and minerals our bodies demand, but are loaded with fructose, glucose or some form of refined sugar; it is easier to make the connection between improper food consumption, obesity and malnutrition.
Mark Hyman MD in the Huffpost Healthy Living Blog, March 8, 2012 said “Americans are overfed and undernourished. That’s right, the most obese children and adults in the country are also the most nutritionally deficient.”
I suspect the same can be said for Canada and other developed nations; countries that are not normally associated with hunger or deprivation.
Hunger and malnutrition are not just happening over there, someplace that is far from our homes, but are taking place in our communities, neighbourhoods and quite possibly within our own families.