acute undernutrition

GC: n

S: UN – (last access: 12 April 2013); NCBI – (last access: 27 July 2015).

N: Acute and chronic undernutrition. There are two main patterns of undernutrition found in children. These are stunting and wasting. Different processes produce these two patterns and they are assessed using separate anthropometric indices. In children, acute nutritional deficit and/or disease (such as diarrhoea) produce wasting, characterised by a reduction in weight-for-height or arm circumference, or both. Prolonged nutritional deficit and/or disease result in stunting, characterised by a reduction in height-for-age 5. Wasting and stunting are associated with different functional consequences. Weight-for-height is a powerful predictor of short-term mortality, as is the mid upper arm circumference (MUAC). Height-for-age predicts longer-term mortality.
The nutritional assessment of adults is more problematic. Despite metabolic differences between chronic and acute undernutrition, the absence of linear growth removes the power of a height variable to discriminate between the two main patterns of undernutrition. In 1988, the International Dietary Energy Consultative Group proposed a definition of chronic adult undernutrition calling it ‘chronic energy deficiency’ (CED), clearly differentiating it from ‘acute energy deficiency’ (AED).

S: UN – (last access: 27 July 2015)


CR: cachexia, chronic hunger, famine, hunger, inanition, kwashiorkor, malnutrition, marasmus, undernourishment, undernutrition.