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Inadequate Nutrition On The Home Front

1665 words - 7 pages

While the issue of obesity in America is taking center stage, a less conspicuous health issue of equal importance is occurring in many families throughout the country. This nutrient deficiency is known as malnutrition. Malnutrition is most abundant in families living in poverty. It has a distinct set of symptoms and can cause irreversible damage if not treated properly. Though malnutrition isn’t a lost cause, organizations such as Unicef and ACF are not only covering the home front, they are reaching out to developing countries as well. Aside from privately funded organizations, federally funded programs have been made accessible to families in need as well.
Malnutrition is defined as the condition a body is in when it is not receiving enough vital nutrient. This is a problem in many American families because if the bodies of its victims remain in a vitamin or nutrient lacking state for too long, they could experience prolonged effects. The effects include stunted growth in children and underdevelopment, as well as physical or mental disability, and illness. The hardest hit families are those living in poverty, in these situations, starvation another form of malnutrition, is most common. According to abc news 15 million children in America are living in poverty. As many as 17 million children throughout the nation are living in households that are struggling with food insecurity. 4 million of these struggling families aren't eligible to receive federal food aid because their salaries exceed the national poverty limit. According to “Aspe” the national poverty limit for one person starts at approximately $11,490 and with each addition to a family another $4,020 is added, however this number varies slightly depending on location (2013 Poverty Guidelines). Over all around 11% of American households have been reported to be at risk of hunger.
Malnutrition can occur due to a variety of reasons. It is most commonly due to an unbalanced diet, though some other causes include lack of vital nutrient absorption, digestive issues, and certain medical conditions. Symptoms have slight variation depending on the age and the case of the person it is affecting. In juveniles and adolescents some of the symptoms they could experience include fainting, irritability, irregular menstruation, stunted growth and hair loss. Adults are often considered to have malnutrition if they lose over 10% of their mass in a span of three months without an established diet. Other symptoms that often occur in adults include decreasing body mass indexes (BMIs), fatigue, dizziness, dry or flaky skin and coarse hair, weakened nails, prolonged healing of cuts and minor wounds, and increase in vulnerability to infectious diseases. Some less common symptoms may also include diarrhea or constipation and depression. Some indicators of a vitamin deficiency include skin and hair irregularities, tongue swelling, mouth sores, poor vision in dimly lit areas or during the night...

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