The Many Faces of Malnutrition


I don’t know about you, but the first images that pop into my head when I hear the word “malnutrition” is a 5 year-old child in Africa. But unbeknownst to many, malnutrition wears many different faces, ethnicities and even income. There are multitudes of people in the United States making decent incomes, yet are lacking key nutritional components in their diets.

Many people know that after a person goes through weight-loss surgery there is an increased risk of developing malnutrition; but new research reveals that patients entering the operating room are lacking essential vitamins, especially vitamin D and iron. This new evidence is especially concerning because vitamin D deficiency can hinder a person’s healing process, lead to inflammation, and infection.
This next statement might be surprising to many, but an obese person, that didn’t have surgery, can also be malnourished. Leigh Peterson, a nutritionist and postdoctoral research fellow at Johns Hopkins Center for Bariatric surgery discusses that many obese patients do not realize that they are lacking key nutrients, and therefore do not get tested before their weight loss surgery. Peterson states, “They think, ‘I eat too much food. Malnutrition is not really an issue for me.'” But these individuals are gravely mistaken.

Obesity and malnutrition causes many issues, but you should especially note that an obese person has a higher risk of being deficient in vitamin D. This deficiency causes an increased risk of infection, autoimmune conditions and even cancer.

Whether you are obese, overweight, or just need to lose a few pounds, here are a few steps that can guide you in the right direction:

-Talk to a nutritionist and make a diet plan.
– Visit your health care provider and get a blood test done. If you’re deficient in key nutrients, talk about which supplements would be best for your health.
– Go outside! Enjoy the last few warm days.
-Research. Look up important foods to always have in your fridge.

Remember that changing your diet can change your life.

“No disease that can be treated by diet should be treated with any other means.”
― Maimonides