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Malnutrition in a child is the result of the lack of quality food.

The following are the characteristics of Malnutrition:
  1. Hair becomes rough, less shiny, and may fall out.
  2. Skin becomes rough, dry and thick, especially on the feet and lower portions of the hand.
  3. Eyes become dry, lustreless and colourless. This often happens with Vitamin A deficiency.
  4. Corners of the lips develop small pimples or bristles, swelling and cracks.
  5. The tongue loses its sense of taste. It turns pink and develops cracks.
  6. Teeth become weak and brittle. They may also turn brownish or off-white.
  7. The entire body frame starts to decay. As a result, wrists become broad and bones become soft and brittle.
Protein energy malnutrition (PEM):

    Visible mostly in infants and kids, PEM develops due to a deficiency of energy giving components, particularly carbohydrate and protein, in foods.
    Early detection of malnutrition is important. In appearance, the child might look normal but its weight would be less than what it should have been. In such cases the child's skin may become loose, thighs and upper arms look especially bony. The child's stomach may also stick out.


    This is the most prevalent disease among children in the age group of 1-6 years.

  1. Child becomes extremely thin
  2. Face wrinkles and looks older; his/her face resembles that of a monkey
  3. Rough and dry hair
  4. Enlarged eyes
  5. Always hungry

   Intake of foods, which give instant energy, mostly fruits and vegetables, which are full of fibre, like bananas, carrots, radishes, turnips etc.
   Children should be fed thrice a day and, if necessary, they should also be given light food between meals at short intervals.


    This disease has no age bar but is most likely to occur to children between 1 ½-4 years.

Who is more prone to it?

   Mostly those children who are breast-feeding and very rarely take other food. It affects children who are compelled to leave breast-feeding due to the birth of another child. The main cause of this disease is protein deficiency.

  1. Rough and dry skin
  2. Swelling on face, wrist, arms, legs and feet
  3. Child loses its appetite
  4. Dry, reddish hair and skin

    The child should be given protein rich food such as vegetables, milk, eggs, baked peanuts, grams, bananas, mangos etc. The child should be given food at short intervals.


     Xerophthalmia is often caused by Vitamin A and protein deficiency. It is mostly prevalent in children between the ages of 1 and 3. The prevalence of this disease is often connected with weaning the child from breast milk. Affected children often come from poor families. Apart from this, lack of knowledge about nutrition, wrong ways of breast-feeding, continuous diarrhoea and measles may also cause this disease. Continuous deficiency of Vitamin A causes blood spots in the eyes. Sometimes loose-motions coincide with measles and make the cornea thinner, which, in turn could lead to blindness.

  • Intake of Vitamin A pills. First dose of Vitamin A should be given to the child along with a measles vaccine
  • After every six months, doses of Vitamin A need to be given to the child. This should continue till the child is 3 years old 3. Fruits and vegetables should be included in the child's diet.
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