Nutrition and its Disorders: Unraveling the Connection

The term nutrition comes from the latin word ‘nutrire’ which means breast feed or nurse. It is one of the major environmental factors that can affect the health of an individual. Lack of food or essential nutrients in food can give rise to some nutritional disorders. For some disorders, modification of diet is valuable treatment 

Root Causes of nutritional disorders 

In countries where ample supply of food is available, cases of malnutrition do occur due to unequal distribution of income, ignorance and due to social factors. Generally, causes include : inadequate intake, disorders of digestion, absorption and assimilation of food constituents. There are some pathological causes of nutritional disorders, which are as follows : 

Defective intake of food 

  • Persistent vomiting
  • Food faddism
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Unbalanced therapeutic diets
  • Loss of appetite due to anxiety, depression etc

Defective Utilisation

  • Infections
  • Renal failure
  • Cirrhosis of liver
  • Malignancy

Loss of nutrients from body

  • Proteinuria
  • Excessive menstrual blood loss
  • Hypokalaemia due to severe diarrhoea

Increased demands

  • Pregnancy
  • Lactation
  • Adolescence 
Symptoms And Signs 

Disorders include the deficiency of any nutrient from a number of nutrients. The signs and symptoms can be seen in daily life activities 


  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling cold
  • Nocturia
  • Diarrhoea may occur
  • Inactive
  • Depression
  • Urge for food and water


  • Skin is lax, dry and fissured
  • Extremities are cold
  • Muscles get wasted
  • Body temperature is subnormal
  • Oedema 
  • Abdominal distention is common
Classification Of Nutritional Disorders 


There is not enough energy in the diet. Several forms of starvation in adults and marasmus in children are examples of it. There are some conditions which increase the risk of undernutrition. The conditions include the following : 

  • Being very poor
  • Being homeless
  • Having psychiatric disorders
  • Being young and older

Consequences of undernutrition can be explained on the basis of short term effects and long term effects. 

Short term adverse effects – Include weakness, delayed physical growth, recurring illness, poor appetite etc. 

Long term adverse effects – Short height of age, poor learning ability, poor working capacity etc. 


There is deficiency of either proteins or other nutrients in the diet. Most foods lack several of these nutrients. Common signs and symptoms include : 

  • Low body weight
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Stunted growth
  • Low blood pressure
  • Low heart rate
  • Low body temperature

Malnutrition can also be caused by certain medical conditions that prevent your body from absorbing nutrients. People might have trouble getting enough nutrients if they have:

  • Limited access to nutritious food
  • Bad financial conditions
  • Eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia
  • Malabsorption disorders
  • Medical conditions that make eating difficult


Excess of body fat results from positive energy balance. It can cause various health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, liver disease and certain cancers. Body mass index is most commonly used to diagnose obesity. BMI calculator includes 

  • Below  18.5                           –                Underweight
  • 18.5 – 24.9                             –                Healthy
  • 25.0 – 29.9                            –                 Overweight
  • 30.0 and higher                  –                 Obesity


Some common obesity prevention strategies include choosing healthier foods, increasing physical activities, limiting screen time, limiting junk food and improving sleep. 


This is due to too much or excess of one food component. Too much intake of fats raises the cholesterol and predisposes to coronary artery disease. It is categorised as a type of malnutrition and causes health problems to the person who is affected by it much like a lack of nutrients in a particular diet. Common symptoms include : 

  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Insulin resistance
  • Heart disease
Strategies For A balanced Diet 

A balanced diet plays an important role in maintaining good health. The most important rule of balanced eating is to eat all meals without skipping any meal. Try to choose a variety of foods from 5 main groups of nutrients which provide a wide range of nutrition to the body. Opting for a balanced, adequate and varied diet is an important step toward a happy and healthy lifestyle. 

Nourishing A Healthier Future

As we conclude our exploration of nutritional disorders, it becomes clear that knowledge and proactive measures are essential in promoting nutritional wellness. By understanding challenges, seeking professional guidance, and adopting healthy habits, we empower ourselves to nourish a healthier future.

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