Malnutrition in Children

For growing children, malnutrition can have life-lasting consequences. Some examples from 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.

Some 13 million children in the United States live in homes with limited access to a sufficient food supply...Previous research has demonstrated that continuous lack of food can result in malnutrition over time, and even the mildest form of malnutrition can limit a child’s ability to understand basic skills and reduce overall learning potential. For example, children from food-insecure households did not perform as well on academic achievement tests as did children from food-secure households.