Food serves multiple functions in most living organisms. For example, it provides materials that are metabolised to supply the energy required for the absorption and translocation of nutrients, for excretion of waste products and for all other activities of the organism. Food also provides materials, which aid the formation of the structural components of the living cell.
Malnutrition is the physical condition resulting either from a faulty or inadequate diet (that is, a diet that does not supply normal quantities of all nutrients) or from a physical inability to absorb or metabolise nutrients, owing to disease. Malnutrition may be the result of several conditions. First, sufficient and proper food may not be available because of inadequate agricultural processes, imperfect distribution of food or certain social problems such as poverty or alcoholism. In these instances, the cause of malnutrition is most often found to be a diet that is deficient in calories or protein.
Malnutrition may also result when certain foods containing one or more of the essential vitamins or minerals are not included in the diet. This commonly leads to specific nutritional deficiency diseases. Poor eating habits and food preferences may lead to malnutrition through the habitual consumption of certain foods to the exclusion of others or of large quantities of non-nutritious foods. In certain parts of Africa, for example, the practice of weaning breast-fed infants to a diet consisting chiefly of one kind of starchy food, such as cassava, may lead to protein deficiency (kwashiorkor). In parts of East Asia, a restricted selection of foods and a preference for white polished rice as a dietary staple has led to the prevalence of a deficiency of thiamin (vitamin B1), which is found mainly in the germ and gran of grain. Multiple deficiencies are more likely to occur than single deficiencies, though the manifestations of one type usually predominate.
Malnutrition can also arise from acquired or inherited metabolic defects, notably those involving the digestive tract, liver, kidney and red-blood cells. These defects cause malnutrition by preventing the proper digestion, absorption and metabolism of foodstuffs by organs and tissues.
1. Describe malnutrition in two sentences.
2. Mention three functions of food.
3. Explain one major consequence of malnutrition.
4. How do poor eating habits cause malnutrition?
5. Mention one disease that can result from malnutrition.View Answers
Text: New Concept English JSS2 Page 103-104 by F. Ademola et al.
Evaluation: Comprehension questions (1-10) page 104