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MALNUTRITION


EFFECTS OF MALNUTRITION

Malnutrition has broad effects on growth, development, cognition, behavior, and immune function. All of these areas are linked and are subject to multiple other influences. Isolating the effects of malnutrition is impossible outside of experimental settings. Early malnutrition has effects throughout the lifespan. Adults malnourished as children are more likely to develop coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension. Prenatal malnutrition also affects health in adult life. Dutch children born after the "Hunger Winter" imposed by the Nazi blockade were more than twice as likely to develop schizophrenia if their mothers were malnourished during the first trimester of pregnancy. Impaired glucose tolerance developed more frequently in those children whose mothers were malnourished during the last trimester of pregnancy. Infants born small for gestational age are more likely to develop insulin resistance, dyslipidemia (disorder of lipoprotein metabolism), and "syndrome X" (hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and obesity). Nutritional deprivation in early life may also impair cognitive function in old age.

 

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