The nature of the nutrition problem
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Mata Jiménez, Leonardo
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This paper attempts to conceptualize malnutrition from an ecological point of view. One definition of malnutrition, a term that in Spanish can be rendered by either 'desnutricion' or 'malnutricion', is: a pathologic state usually induced by an insufficient consumption of food, and, therefore, by a lower calorie intake than required durinS a prolonged period; it manifests itself by physical, psychologic and biochemical alterations, by lower weight for height increments and by a deficit in height as compared to wellnourished children.1 This definition is unsatisfactory because it suggests that malnutrition is solely the result of lowered food consumption, wholly disregarding other components in the complex web of causation. alnutrition is a pathologic state due to a deficient availability of essential nutrients at the cellular and tissue level during a prolonged period; it manifests itself by physical, psychologic and biochemical alterations', etc. This broader defmition allows for situations where an adequate amount of food is consumed, but the organism is still malnourished. The classical - and still accepted - defmition of malnutrition illustrates just how firmly established is the concept that food is the main factor in the genesis of malnutrition, even to the extent that it has been customary to equate malnutrition with underalimentation and malaIimentation. This philosophical misconception has greatly affected the evolution of scientific nutrition, and has been detrimental to the orientation of teaching, research and nutrition planning in developingnations.
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- Nutrición 
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