Salt intake increases from early childhood to adulthood. During the first months of postnatal life, the few hundred milliliters of breast milk ingested daily by a neonate provide less than 1 g of salt (sodium chloride), wherever in the world the baby may happen to live.
Saltiness is one of the 5 tastes that our gustatory papillae experience along with sweet, sour, bitter, and umami (meaty taste). However, an infant can only experience a salty taste starting at around 4 to 6 months of age. Thus, his preference for salt is acquired and is highly dependent on what accompanies the salty taste: sweetness, the quantity of energy or cultural reinforcement.
The treatment of Failure to Thrive (FTT), Marasmus and Kwashiorkor is part and parcel of a health professional’s daily activities in South Africa. The purpose of this article is to discuss the nutritional management of Marasmus and Kwashiorkor as separate entities.