A man and a woman have been charged after a severely malnourished girl was found at their home in New South Wales.
On Saturday 12 December 2015, a member of the public contacted police with concerns for the welfare of a young girl.
When police arrived at the Nowra property, they found the four-year-old in an emaciated state. The girl was rushed to hospital where she received treatment for severe malnutrition.
A 25-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man were both arrested on December 31 and charged with failure to provide for a child.
The girl and her one-year-old sister have been removed from the couple’s care.
Causes of Hunger and Malnutrition
People who don’t get enough food often experience hunger, and over the long term this can lead to malnutrition. But someone can become malnourished for reasons that have nothing to do with hunger. Even people who have plenty to eat may be malnourished if they don’t eat foods that provide the right nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Malnutrition affects people of every age, although infants, children, and teens may suffer the most because many nutrients are critical for normal growth and development
Symptoms and Effects of Malnutrition
Malnutrition harms both the body and the mind. The more malnourished someone is — in other words, the more nutrients that are missing — the more likely he or she is to have problems.
The signs and symptoms of malnutrition depend on which nutritional deficiencies a person has, although they can include:
•fatigue (tiredness) and low energy
•poor immune function (which can harm the body’s ability to fight off infections)
•dry, scaly skin
•swollen and bleeding gums
•slowed reaction times and trouble paying attention
•osteoporosis, or fragile bones that break easily
•problems with organ function
Treating Malnourished Children
Fortunately, many of the harmful effects of malnutrition can be reversed, especially if a child is only mildly or briefly malnourished.
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