• 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:
It keeps our immune system functioning properly.
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
- 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.