Deficiency Diseases


This topic gives you an overview of; 

  • Deficiency Diseases
  • Undernutrition and Malnutrition
  • How to Overcome Deficiency in Nutrients 

Deficiency Diseases

Diseases that occur due to lack of nutrients over a long period are called deficiency diseases or nutritional disease. Deficiency of one or more nutrients can cause diseases or disorders in our body. For example, wheat is rich in carbohydrates, but poor in nutrients like proteins and fats. Too much intake of wheat products results in a deficiency of proteins and fats, which reduces growth. Lack of proteins also results in stunted growth, skin diseases, swelling of the face and discolouration of the hair, and even causes diarrhoea. 

Deficiency of different vitamins and minerals may also result in certain diseases or disorders. So a balanced diet is required to avoid deficiency diseases. Some diseases/disorders caused by deficiency of vitamins and minerals. 


Undernutrition and Malnutrition

The consumption of less quantity of food than the amount required by the body is known as 'Undernutrition'. On other hand, lack of some essential nutrients in the diet is known as 'Malnutrition'

Causes of Malnutrition

  • Poverty
  • Ignorance
  • Shortage of Food
  • Faulty Food Habits
  • Faulty Food Distribution 

How to Overcome Deficiency in Nutrients

Some of the ways you can overcome deficiency diseases are listed below. 

Eat simple inexpensive foods

Eat inexpensive but wholesome food like groundnut, pulses, satto and soyabean. 

Proper cooking

Many food items lose their food value by wrong method of cooking or processing. Prolonged heating of food items, keeping cut fruits or vegetables for a longer period spoil their nutritional value. 

Sprouting and fermentation

Sprouting and Fermentation help in enhancing nutritive value of food. 

Prevent wastage of food

Cook the right amount of food and store the food items in its respective places. For e.g., store fruits and vegetables in refrigerator, store cereals pulses and spices in airtight containers. 


  • Deficiency of one or more nutrients in our food for a long time may cause certain diseases or disorders.
  • A small intake of food than required is known as undernutrition.
  • The lack of some of the essential nutrients in the diet is known as malnutrition.
  • Sprouting and fermentation help in increasing the nutritive value of food.
  • A balanced diet is required to avoid deficiency diseases. 

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