Malnutrition and Development

Unless a more specific usage is indicated, malnutrition generally refers to protein-energy malnutrition (PEM). The term was introduced because the two deficits tend to occur together; an isolated protein deficiency is rare. Children are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition, and severe malnutrition is associated with high mortality. But many children live through chronic mild to moderate malnutrition, and there is reasonably good evidence that it adversely affects their cognitive development. Micronutrient deficiencies are also widespread. Two micronutrient deficiencies that also affect cognitive development are iodine and iron deficiency.

As well as the type of malnutrition, its timing, duration, and severity are important. Malnutrition may be prenatal or postnatal, and after birth it may be found in early or late infancy, childhood, or adolescence. Its origins can ...

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