Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: November 27, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412953948 | Print ISBN: 9781412928168 | Online ISBN: 9781412953948| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Malnutrition, Measurement of
Parminder S. Suchdev
Malnutrition is a serious global issue, affecting more than 2 billion people worldwide. The problem has two principal constituents—protein-energy malnutrition and deficiencies in micronutrients—and affects women and young children in particular. Malnutrition is the most important risk factor for illness and death in developing countries. Of the many factors that may cause malnutrition, most are related to poor intake of food or to severe or frequent infection, especially in underprivileged populations. Because malnutrition and social factors are closely linked, the nutritional status of a population is a good indicator of the quality of life in a community. Nutritional status can be measured at the individual or population level. Population-based assessments are typically performed to measure the extent of malnutrition in a community, identify high-risk groups, and estimate the number of people requiring interventions such as supplementary and therapeutic feeding. Estimates of the burden of malnutrition are important at the national ...