Causes malnutrition for children

Malnutrition or known as kwashiorkor in the medical world, is one form of malnutrition. Malnutrition itself can be understood as a mistake in the provision of nutrients. Mistakes can be either a deficiency or an excess of nutrients.
Basically kwashiorkor can be interpreted as a condition where a person lacks intake containing energy and protein. Though protein required by the body in the process of formation of new cells. In addition, this intake also helps the repair process of damaged cells.
Kwashiorkor mostly attacks children in developing countries – including Indonesia. World Health Organization (WHO) estimates as many as 54% of infant and under five mortality due to malnutrition. Even the risk of death of children with malnutrition 13 times greater than normal children.



Complications due to malnutrition or kwashiorkor greatly affect the growth and development of children. When complications occur, the child may experience stages of development to be slower than normal children his age. In addition, children can also experience learning difficulties, susceptible to severe disease, disorders of various organs, until death can occur.


Diagnosis of malnutrition or kwashiorkor can be done by examining the child’s health history. Lack of nutritious food intake can be seen from the eating habits of children.
In addition, the presence of symptoms and signs kwashiorkor will help doctors in diagnosing.

To distinguish it from other types of malnutrition such as marasmus, the doctor will determine whether the sufferer has symptoms that accompanied the swelling of the body (edema).
Sometimes, in children with malnutrition or kwashiorkor also diagnosed with other diseases. The most commonly detected disease is a low immune infectious disease.
Investigations can be done. For example, laboratory tests to appropriate radiology to diagnose infectious diseases.


The symptoms of malnutrition or kwashiorkor that will appear are:

  • Pale, thin, convex, and loss of muscle mass in all four limbs
  • Children look often restless
  • Growth disorders include weight and height
  • Her hair becomes easily uprooted, looks dull, dry, and often changes color
  • Can also change the skin, the skin becomes scaly, there are white and pink spots with blackish edges
  • The child will also suffer from anemia due to nutrient deficiency such as iron and vitamin B complex.


To overcome malnutrition or kwashiorkor required intake of nutrients in the form of adequate calories and protein. However, the provision of these nutrients should be done gradually.
In the early stages should be given caloric intake to meet their energy needs without involving protein intake first. If the calorie needs are fulfilled, then intake of protein nisa start given.
Provision of protein can be done from low levels that gradually continue to be added. This is done so that the patient’s gastrointestinal tract is not surprised if directly given high intake of high-calorie protein.
Handling at home can be done with sufficient needs balanced nutrition for children. Foods consumed must contain complete carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals.
But remember to give it slowly and controlled. For the early stages, make sure you involve your doctor’s help in controlling the condition of the child with malnutrition or the kwashiorkor you are caring for.
To prevent the occurrence of malnutrition or kwashiorkor in your child, provide foods with balanced nutrition. Enough needs carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
High-value protein sources can be obtained from animal products such as milk, cheese, meat, eggs, and fish. You can also use the vegetable protein derived from green beans and soybeans


The cause of malnutrition or kwashiorkor is because the child does not get food with adequate energy and protein content. Generally this is often associated with low economic levels.
That is why cases of malnutrition or kwashiorkor occur in many developing countries. In addition to the low level of the economy, the lack of parental knowledge of the nutrients the child’s body needs also affects.
Basically malnutrition or kwashiorkor is not a sudden disorder. This condition takes place slowly. Therefore it is important to prevent the child from experiencing this condition by providing adequate nutritional food intake.