Nutritional Disorders in Pakistan
Nutritional Disorders in Pakistan is the common problem, that is based on improper nutritional supplements, which are caused by the deficient dietary intake of protein, calories, vitamins i.e. vitamins A, Riboflavin and elements like iodine, iron and calcium.
Protein calories malnutrition (PCM) means sub optimal health in early childhood due to inadequate intake of proteins and a variable intake of calories. Dietary lack of protein results in growth retardation and reduction in the body weight in growing children.
PCM is the result of an inadequate dietary intake due to poverty, ignorance and the misdistribution of the food within the family. The average daily protein intake in Pakistan is 45.4 grams of which only 7 gram is of animal origin.
Vitamin A Deficiency:
Vitamin A Deficiency is characterized by keratinizing metaplasia of epithelial structure like conjunctiva, cornea, the ducts of exocrine glands the respiratory, genitourinary and parts of the gastrointestinal tracts. About 50,000 children in Pakistan suffer from exophthalmia and one fort of whom become permanently blind each year or, die 34- 40% of the population has the low or deficient level of vitamin A and carotene in the blood. In Pakistan, 34% of the general population has deficient or low levels of plasma vitamin A and carotene in which 90% are pregnant or lactating women. The deficiency can be corrected by oral or parental administration of vitamin A and intake of vitamin A rich food.
When iron is not available to the body in sufficient quantities because of inadequate intake, poor absorption several biochemical alterations occur, of which the best known is biosynthesis of hemoglobin.
Iron deficiency is one of the widespread problems in children and in women of childbearing age. In east wing 50% of children below the age of 15, 29% adult’s males and 55% of mothers had anemia, while 36% of the rural and 56% of the urban population suffers from iron deficiency anemia.
Anemia increases the maternal mortality. It can be prevented by adequate dietary intake and a proper health education and treated by oral or I/M iron or total dose I/V infusion.
Iodine deficiency leads to decreased production of the thyroid hormone and thus stimulates anterior pituitary to the secret more thyrotrophic hormone which results in simple or nodular goiter.
In Pakistan, the overall incidence of goiter is 2.3% with almost double the incidence in pregnant and lactating women.
Goiter is endemic in mountainous regions of north-west Pakistan. The iodine deficiency resulting in the goiter, cretinism and deaf-mutism may be due to more absence of iodine in the diet or due to presence of some nitrogenous substances in the food like cabbage, cauliflower, groundnut which block the utilization of iodine in the body and increased physiological and during menstruation, pregnancy and lactation and in rare cases due to some genetic predisposition.
Riboflavin deficiency causes pallor, cheilosis, erythema and sealing of nasolabial folds, alaenasiears and eyelids other signs include the magenta tongue, vascularization of the cornea, epithelial, nutritional amblyopia and volvulus. The term pathogen genital syndrome is used to cover all these signs but no single is pathognomonic of this disorder.
Riboflavin deficiency is widely prevalent affecting mostly the low-income groups. In the nutrition surveys in Pakistan rickets, osteopathic, pellagra and beriberi were not seen.