In 1980, approximately 39% of the world's preschool children, 141 million in all,
suffered from some degree of malnutrition. Fifty-nine percent of these children
lived in Southeast Asia.
Children with primary protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) are generally found in
underdeveloped countries as a result of an inadequate food supply due to socioeconomic
or political factors or occasionally due to natural disasters.
Although it has long been known that malnutrition and infectious diseases frequently
occur together (1), it has only recently been established that the nutritional
status of the host can alter the functional activity of the immune system and thereby
affect the host's response to infections (2-12).
Malnutrition is one of the most significant problems afflicting humanity today.
Children, in the midst of growth and development, helpless and ill-equipped to
withstand adverse factors, fall easy prey to the ravages of malnutrition.
Severe childhood malnutrition embraces a spectrum of clinical presentations and
This subject was last reviewed at the Chiang Mai Symposium on Protein-Calorie
Malnutrition (PCM), which was held in January 1973 and published in 1975 (1).
The unraveling of functional mechanisms for single nutrients has been a necessary
stage in the research strategy of human nutrition.
Abnormal total body and serum electrolyte concentrations are common in
protein-energy malnutrition (PEM).
Multiple factors probably contribute to the clinical and geographic heterogeneity
of protein-energy malnutrition (PEM), and the possibility that trace metals may play
a role in this was first appreciated some 50 years ago (1).
The formation and differentiation of cerebral structures during and after intrauterine
life is a very complicated process, depending on a series of metabolic changes
that are influenced by fixed and variable factors.
When considering the effects of protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) on mental development,
it is useful to remember that malnutrition varies in severity and duration
and that children are affected at different stages of development.
This chapter will describe the alterations in various endocrine systems in chronic
protein-energy malnutrition (PEM).
Protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) may have serious effects on cardiovascular
structure and function.
The effects of malnutrition on the components of the respiratory system are becoming
more apparent and better described as careful laboratory studies supplement
descriptive human studies and observations.
Malnutrition may be considered as an effect and a cause of underdevelopment
The exocrine pancreas, the main source of digestive enzymes, fluid, and bicarbonate
required for food digestion, is known to secrete more protein per gram of tissue
than any other gland in the human body other than the lactating mammary gland
At the time when "nutritional cirrhosis" was a viable concept, there was great
enthusiasm for research to confirm the proposed sequence: Malnutrition—> Fatty
The classic aphorism of Homer Smith: "Blood composition results, not from
what we eat but from what our kidneys are able to retain" (1), relates the variables
of body composition, nutrition, growth, and kidney function.
In the human environment, there are numerous chemicals and drags that gain entry
to the body through ingestion, inhalation, and absorption through the skin, eyes,
In recent years, almost all poor regions of the world, especially Latin America,
have witnessed a relative increase in malnutrition occurring during the first year of
The 1987 report on the status of world nutrition indicates that, except in Asia,
hunger and malnutrition in the Third World are increasing, a trend that is likely to
continue unabated for the rest of this century (1).
The formulation of rehabilitation foods is designed to improve the child's nutritional
level as quickly as possible by providing sufficient energy and high-quality
The World Health Organization estimates that 40,000 children die each day, over
14 million a year, in the developing world. The majority of these children are severely
malnourished (1). Of the children who survive, approximately 39% are
stunted, that is, never reach their potential adult stature (2).
Dr. Ballabriga: I am interested in the development of the central nervous system in marasmic
children. I should like to see studies defining the role of subclinical essential fatty acid
deficiency, especially with relation to the ratio of different families of fatty acids and composition
of the diet.
There is a boundless need to "educate" people who work in a science such as
medicine, which deals with the health of man.