Protein energy malnutrition

Food security The effort to bring modern agricultural techniques found in the West, such as nitrogen fertilizers and pesticides, to Asia, called the Green Revolutionresulted in decreases in malnutrition similar to those seen earlier in Western nations. This was possible because of existing infrastructure and institutions that are in short supply in Africa, such as a system of roads or public seed companies that made seeds available.

Protein energy malnutrition

It is the leading cause of death in children in developing countries. Description PEM is also referred to as protein-calorie malnutrition. It develops in children whose consumption of protein and energy measured by calories is insufficient to satisfy their nutritional needs.

PEM may also occur in children with illnesses that leave them unable to absorb vital nutrients or convert them to the energy essential for healthy tissue formation and organ function. PEM can develop gradually in a child who has a chronic illness or experiences chronic semi-starvation. It may appear suddenly in a patient who has an acute illness.

Kwashiorkor, Protein energy malnutrition called wet protein-energy malnutrition, is a form of PEM characterized primarily by protein deficiency. It causes fluid retention edema ; dry, peeling skin; and hair discoloration. Marasmus is characterized by stunted growth and wasting of muscle and tissue.

Marasmus usually develops between the ages of six months and one year in children who have been weaned from breast milk or who suffer from weakening conditions such as chronic diarrhea.

Primary PEM is common in impoverished areas of developing countries.

Protein energy malnutrition

Children at particular risk for secondary PEM are those who have diseases that involve diarrhea or that otherwise interfere with nutrient absorption. Children with chronic illnesses that require frequent hospitalization are more likely to develop PEM.


Causes and symptoms Secondary PEM symptoms range from mild to severe, and can alter the form or function of almost every organ in the body. Mild, moderate, and severe classifications for PEM have not been precisely defined, but patients who lose 10—20 percent of their body weight without trying may have moderate PEM.

Some of the cause is replacement dependent i. This level of PEM is characterized by a weakened grip and inability to perform high-energy tasks. Losing 20 percent of body weight or more is generally classified as severe PEM. Children with this condition cannot eat normal-sized meals. They have slow heart rates and low blood pressure and body temperatures.

Other symptoms of severe secondary PEM include baggy, wrinkled skin; constipation ; dry, thin, or brittle hair; lethargy; pressure sores, and other skin lesions. Children suffering from kwashiorkor often have extremely thin arms and legs, but liver enlargement and ascites abnormal accumulation of fluid can distend the abdomen and disguise weight loss.

Hair may turn red or yellow. Anemia, diarrhea, and fluid and electrolyte disorders are common. Children may grow to normal height but are abnormally thin. Kwashiorkor-like secondary PEM usually develops in children who have been severely burned, suffered trauma, or had sepsis massive tissue-destroying infection or another life-threatening illness.

Some patients even gain weight because of fluid retention. Profound weakness accompanies severe marasmus. Since the body breaks down its own tissue to use for energy, children with this condition lose all their body fat and muscle strength, and acquire a skeletal appearance most noticeable in the hands and in the temporal muscle in front of and above each ear.

Children with marasmus are small for their age.

Protein-Energy Malnutrition

Since their immune systems are weakened, they suffer from frequent infections. Other symptoms include loss of appetite, diarrhea, skin that is dry and baggy, sparse hair that is dull brown or reddish yellow, mental retardation, behavioral retardation, low body temperature hypothermiaand slow pulse and breathing rates.

The absence of edema fluid retention distinguishes marasmus-like secondary PEM, a gradual wasting process that begins with weight loss and progresses to mild, moderate, or severe malnutrition cachexia.

It is usually associated with cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPDor another chronic disease that progresses very slowly. Difficulty chewing, swallowing, and digesting food, painnauseaand lack of appetite are among the most common reasons that many hospital patients do not consume enough nutrients.

Nutrient loss can be accelerated by bleeding, diarrhea, abnormally high blood sugar levels glycosuriakidney disease, malabsorption disorders, and other factors. Feverinfection, surgery, and benign or malignant tumors increase the amount of nutrients that hospitalized patients need.

Trauma, burnsand some medications also increase caloric requirements. When to call the doctor The doctor should be consulted if a child has lost a significant amount of weight without trying, has persistent diarrhea, or has any other signs of PEM.Protein energy malnutrition (PEM) is a common problem worldwide and occurs in both developing and industrialized nations.

In the developing world, it is frequently a result of socioeconomic, political, or environmental factors. To prevent kwashiorkor, make sure the diet has enough carbohydrates, fat (at least 10% of total calories), and protein (12% of total calories).

Alternative Names Protein malnutrition; Protein-calorie malnutrition; Malignant malnutrition. Protein-Energy Malnutrition is a topic covered in the Select 5-Minute Pediatrics Topics..

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Sep 14,  · Protein-energy malnutrition is the most common form of nutritional deficiency among patients who are hospitalized in the United States.

Kwashiorkor - Wikipedia

As many as half of all patients admitted to the hospital have malnutrition to some degree. Using the WHO Global Database on Child Growth and Malnutrition, which covers 87% of the total population of underyear-olds in developing countries, we describe the worldwide distribution of protein-energy malnutrition, based on nationally representative cross-sectional data gathered between Protein–energy malnutrition (PEM) is a form of malnutrition that is defined as a range of pathological conditions arising from coincident lack of dietary protein and/or energy in varying proportions.

The condition has mild, moderate, and severe degrees.

Protein–energy malnutrition - Wikipedia