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Is it Possible to be Both Overweight and Malnourished?

The stereotypical picture of malnourishment -- a very thin, starving person -- is no longer accurate. It is possible, and quite common, for people to be both overweight and malnourished.

In fact, British experts estimated that, similar to here in the United States, anywhere from 2 million to 4 million overweight Britons are not receiving the nutrients they need from food, even though food is plentiful.

The culprit? Eating too much of the wrong foods (processed, refined, no-nutrition varieties) and not enough of the right ones (fruits, veggies and other real foods). Some experts even believe that people in Briton were eating better during the World War II food rationing system (when they had no choice but to eat eggs, meat, milk and other real food) than they are today.

So while people who are both overweight and malnourished are not at risk of starving, per say, they are at risk of obesity-related complications like diabetes and heart disease, along with symptoms of malnourishment, such as:

  • Skin problems and hair loss
  • A swollen thyroid or bleeding gums
  • Muscle wasting
  • A swollen abdomen
  • Anemia

It’s not possible to tell if you’re malnourished just by the way you look, and in fact you may not notice symptoms until you are very severely deficient in nutrients. A lot of people may be on the borderline of malnourishment and not even realize it.

If you are fortunate enough to have access to healthy foods, it’s up to you to choose to eat them. Once you begin, the increase in energy, stamina and well-being that you experience should be more than enough motivation to keep you going.

And if you need help figuring out which foods are healthy for you -- and that will push your body toward the health you deserve -- finding out your nutritional type is an excellent starting point.

Yahoo News June 8, 2007