The World Health Organization defines Malnutrition as “deficiencies, excesses, or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients”. Malnutrition has different grades; moderate, severe, and acute. The latest is the most prominent form of under-nutrition, and it requires urgent treatment to enable the child to survive, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The term Malnutrition addressed three conditions: the first is under-nutrition, which includes wasting (low weight-for-height), stunting (low height-for-age), and underweight (low weight-for-age), the second is micronutrient-related malnutrition, which includes micronutrient deficiencies (a lack of important vitamins and minerals) or micronutrient excess, and finally overweight, obesity, and diet-related non-communicable diseases (such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers).
The main reasons leading to this matter the inability of parents to cover expenses related to proper food for the child, and resort to compensating their children with simple foods, such as starch and milk from early cows. The problems of malnutrition are not related only to food, but to several factors, including lack of safe drinking water and sanitation, the spread of disease, and lack of immunization.
In the refugee camps, the meals distributed are lacking various nutrients that the body needs. Malnutrition may lead to the phenomenon of anemia, obesity, short stature, or even dwarfing. Besides in the life inside the camps, there is almost no physical activity, in addition to the quality of consumed food such as legumes and vegetable oils, this leads to the dual phenomenon of obesity and malnutrition. This happens because the brain gives the child’s body the signal of malnutrition, and thus all the food he eats turns into a kilocalorie, and the body stores it in the form of fat in the middle area. Thus, this obesity is a physiological consequence of malnutrition.
Death rates among malnourished children are nine times higher compared to their healthy counterparts. Therefore, the organization and donors of the food aid need to increase the dietary diversity in the food basket, and in particular, the increase in dried fruits and vegetables, to improve the content and quantity of the food consumed, as the phenomena of obesity and malnutrition can only be surrounded by a balanced diet. Otherwise, this may affect their immune system and double the risk of infection, a vicious circle under the circumstances of a global pandemic (COVID-19).