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Impact of Malnutrition on Health

Types of Malnutrition

Malnutrition stems from an imbalanced diet or disordered eating and can result in adverse health effects. There are two main types:

  • Under-nutrition: Predominantly observed in underdeveloped nations but also affects segments of the population in the UK, including the elderly and those with low income.
  • Over-nutrition: Commonly seen in developed countries, overconsumption of foods high in fat and sugar can lead to numerous health risks.

Health Risks of Overnutrition

Overnutrition poses various health risks, particularly prevalent in developed nations:

  • Conditions include heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, and high blood pressure.
  • In the UK alone, approximately 400 people die daily from heart disease, with over 1 million diagnosed with diabetes.
  • 2 to 5 men suffer from high blood pressure, while in women, the figure is 1 in 3.
  • Approximately 60% of men and 50% of women are obese due to high-calorie intake, posing significant health risks.

Diabetes Risks

Diabetes is a major concern associated with excessive consumption:

  • Type 1 diabetes: Requires insulin treatment and is typically diagnosed in young people of normal weight.
  • Type 2 diabetes: Most common and primarily affects overweight individuals; can be managed through diet and weight loss.
  • Type 2 diabetes is preventable with a healthy diet and exercise.

Cancer Risks

Cancer risk increases with excess consumption:

  • Annually, 32,000 individuals in the UK die before the age of 65 due to cancer.
  • Approximately a quarter of all cancers are attributed to poor diet.
  • Bowel and stomach cancer risks rise with low intake of fruits and vegetables.
  • Breast cancer risk has been linked to obesity in recent years.