5 Causes And Contributors To Malnutrition

Malnutrition is a state of an improper consumption of necessary nutrients. It can be too much, too little, or just a lack of balance in the consumption of these necessary nutrients. Here are 5 causes and contributors to malnutrition so that you can see just how easy it is for someone to be malnourished and how someone could be malnourished without even knowing it.


Poverty is a clear cause of malnutrition. If someone doesn't have enough money for food then they are going to be malnourished. This could be that they do not have enough money for food so that they get an inadequate amount of calories or it could be that they can only afford foods that are high in calories but that deliver less of the vital nutrients that people need for optimum health. These are two ways that poverty can easily lead to malnutrition.

Poor Diet

You don't have to live in poverty to experience malnutrition. You could just have a poor diet and still be malnourished. Maybe you diet to excess and consume fewer calories than your body needs. Maybe you eat foods that do not provide proper nutrition even though it may appear that you are eating enough food. Overconsumption is also a form of malnourishment. You can be both overfed and undernourished. Whatever form it may take, a poor diet is a direct path to malnutrition.


Sometimes a person can eat a health diet that includes all the proper nutrition that they need without giving them too much but they are still malnourished. This can happen to anyone who experiences malabsorption. There are many conditions that interfere with the body's ability to properly absorb nutrition from food so that the healthiest diet possible is still going to leave that person malnourished. Sometimes an individual will have just some trouble absorbing nutrients from foods while others will have great difficulty and will develop obvious symptoms of malnutrition as a result. The solution to malabsorption depends on the cause but it deserves recognition for being one of the sneakiest underlying causes of malnutrition.

Drug And Alcohol Addiction

Drug and alcohol addiction can lead to malnutrition in a few ways. First, overconsumption of alcohol or any drug use at all can interfere with natural hunger signals which can lead to an individual being malnourished. Drug and alcohol addiction also eventually tend to lead to difficulties with employment and with maintaining financial stability in general which leads to poverty which leads to malnutrition. Prolonged drug and alcohol addiction may contribute to malabsorption and can interfere with proper utilization of nutrients which both can cause malnutrition.


Both natural disasters and manmade disasters, like wars, can lead to malnutrition. Natural disasters and manmade disasters can separate people from food supplies which can contribute to malnutrition. People may be separated from their homes or food supply lines may be interrupted which both mean that nutritious foods may be hard to come by. These disasters can also plunge people into poverty which makes malnutrition all the more likely.
Guest author bio: Mary Wardly often likes to blog about degree requirements for master international health programs online.  

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