Deficiency diseases


•    A deficiency disease is caused due to the lack of some nutrient or an essential component of food.

•    It means an individual is not getting some really important vitamins or minerals.

•    Lack of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, or minerals in the diet can cause diseases.


Deficiency of Carbohydrates:

•    Carbohydrates; in the form of grains and root vegetables are the main source of energy for people in the world.

•    There is no requirement for dietary carbohydrates although the brain; red blood cells; lungs; nerves and some cells in the kidneys use glucose as a preferred source of energy.

•    Lack of carbohydrates in the diet results in the lack of energy and stamina.

•    Carbohydrates provide the body with a source of fuel and energy that is required to carry out daily activities and exercise.

•    Carbohydrates are also important for the working of our heart, brain, nervous, immune and digestive systems.

•    We should consume carbohydrate rich foods like bran, wheat germ, brown rice, potatoes, legumes, oats, beans, peas, corn, root vegetables such as carrots, turnips, radishes, fruits and vegetables, etc.

•    We should not consume sweets, sugary breakfast cereals, cakes, pasteries, biscuits, chocolate, etc.


Deficiency of Proteins:

•    Protein accounts for 20% of our body weight.

•    Protein is important to us in many ways:

  1. It keeps our immune system functioning properly.

  2. It helps to maintain healthy skin, hair, and nails.

•    Both adults and children can be healthy by adequate intake of protein.

•    As a result; protein deficiency is often seen in such people who do not take required amount of protein in the diet.

•    Lack of proteins in the diet weakens muscles.

•    Deficiency of proteins is called protein energy malnutrition (PEM).



•    A child suffering from kwashiorkor has some or all of the following symptoms:

 -   Large pot-like belly

 -   Stunted growth

 -   Swelling of face and limbs (especially the feet)

 -   Skin diseases

 -   Mental retardation

 -   Diarrhoea

 -   Intake of proteins in required amount may cure this disease.



•    Marasmus is more common among infants and children under 5 years of age.

•    A child suffering from marasmus:-

 -   Shows continuous weight loss

 -   Shows slow body growth

 -   Feels lack of energy

 -   Shows loss of appetite

 -   Weak legs

 -   Mental retardation

 -   Poor muscle development

•   To prevent these diseases, the Government of India has started programmes such as the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) and the Mid-day Meal scheme in schools.