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What is Marasmus

What is Marasmus

What is Marasmus
What is Marasmus


Marasmus is the term used for the severely underweight child. This condition results from a diet that is very low in both protein and calories.

It is also called “balanced starvation.”

This may occur among kids of all ages, but is more common among one- year-olds. If breast-feeding is unsuccessful or the mother has insufficient breast-milk supply and little or no alternative food is given to the infant, the result could be marasmus.

Lactation problems in the mother may result from stress and other psychological factors,certain illnesses, malnutrition.

Associated diseases or conditions include dehydration resulting from infectious diarrhea, tuberculosis, and the presence of intestinal parasites. The following characterize marasmus:
•    Failure to gain weight followed by loss of weight until emaciation results

•    Skin becomes wrinkled and loose

•    Face becomes shrunken and the child looks like an old man

•    The abdomen is distended or thin

•    Muscle wasting (buttocks, thighs, shoulders, and upper arms)

•    Loose skin folds in the buttocks

•    Growth retardation (body weight is 60 percent or less of expected weight)

•    Infant is usually quiet and apathetic


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