Malnutrition is a condition that occurs when a person does not receive the right amount of nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, from their diet.
These nutrients are essential for healthy growth and activity. An imbalanced or poor diet can lead to either an excess or a deficiency of specific nutrients.
Energy is measured in joules. However, on food packaging, the energy in food is often listed in calories (kcal).
The daily recommended calorie intake is 2,000 for women and 2,500 for men. However, it’s important to remember that these are just guidelines; individual needs may vary based on factors like height and activity level. An imbalanced diet occurs when the energy gained from food doesn’t match the energy you need.
Being either underweight or overweight poses significant health risks. Being underweight can lead to a weak immune system and being obese can increase the chance of heart disease. Also, not consuming the right amount of each vitamin and mineral can result in long-term health problems.
Maintaining a healthy weight is important for your overall well-being. BMI (Body Mass Index) uses a person’s height and weight to determine if their weight is healthy. The equation is:
For example, if a person weighs 70 kg and has a height of 1.80 m:
BMI = 70 kg ÷ 1.80²
BMI = 21.6 kg/m²
The table below shows the BMI categories. So, individuals with a body mass over 30 are considered to be obese.
|Healthy weight||18.5 to <25|
|Overweight||25 to <30|
A deficiency means that you don’t have enough of a particular vitamin or mineral.
Minerals are essential nutrients that our bodies need in small amounts to function properly. A lack of certain minerals can lead to deficiencies, such as:
Similarly, a lack of certain vitamins can also lead to deficiencies: