Malnourishment accompanied by hunger and starvation makes people look small and thin with wasting muscle tissue. In addition, malnourishment and hunger often result in dry or scaly skin, swollen or bleeding gums, tooth decay and bloated stomachs. However, in the United States, people who are overweight can also be malnourished due to inadequate amounts of vital nutrients as a consequences of poor food choices.
Malnourishment occurs when cells don't receive the nutrients they need to be able to grow and repair themselves. Lack of adequate nutrients to malnourishment, but lack of specific nutrients can also cause malnourishment and leave the body with a compromised immune system.
Severe, acute malnourishment occurs when the supply of food is disrupted, typically by war, famine or drought. Malnourished children typically lose weight quickly, then lose their appetites. Severe malnourishment often manifests as marasmus or kwashiorkor. In marasmus, the malnourished person loses his hair and has loose skin and weak muscles. With kwashiorkor, a malnourished person's hair loses its color, his ankles and belly swell, and he develops sores and dark patches on his skin.
Nutritional deficiencies of various sorts cause health problems all over the world. Vitamin A deficiency can result in blindness and a greater susceptibility to measles and diarrhea. Iodine deficiency causes delayed mental development and retardation. Iron deficiency impairs the ability to concentrate. These types of malnourishment aren't necessarily connected to issues of starvation.