The physical condition resulting from dietary deficiencies. These may be caused by lack of food resources (famine) or by lack of knowledge about nutrition. The World Health Organisation estimated 1995 that one-third of the world's children are undernourished.
When essential nutrients are missing from the diet, opportunistic infection takes hold in weakened individuals, those with deficiency disease, and may kill before starvation occurs. A high global death rate linked to malnutrition has arisen from famine situations caused by global warming, droughts, and the greenhouse effect as well as by sociopolitical factors, such as alcohol and drug abuse, poverty and war.
A state of poor nutrition; can result from insufficient or excessive or unbalanced diet or from inability to absorb foods.