For growing children, malnutrition can have life-lasting consequences. Some examples from http://www.kidscare.org/issues-education-malnutrition-and-poverty are:
- Lack of iron causes childhood anemia, cavities and impacts cognitive development.
- Lack of vitamins C and D cause bone diseases like rickets or scurvy.
- Too little riboflavin (found in milk) causes sores on the skin and in the corners of the mouth.
- Lack of niacin causes pellagra, a condition that brings on diarrhea, skin rashes and mental problems.
- Low vitamin A can result in eye disease and poor vision and skin problems.
- Lack of calcium can minimize skeletal growth and bone mineralization, increasing the risk of developing osteoporosis later in life.
- Too much fat can cause cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain cancers.
Poor nutrition also causes obesity in children, a major epidemic in the United States, causing poor self-esteem as well as health problems. One fifth of the "vegetables" Americans eat are French fries and potato chips. Thanks to "super-sizing" fast food meals, many Americans do not even know what a normal food serving is. Adults have to set the example by eating nutrient rich foods in the correct serving size and helping children do the same.