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Overnutrition, also referred to as hyperalimentation, is a subtype of malnutrition where there is an excessive intake of nutrients. Unlike undernutrition, which is characterized by inadequate nutrient intake, overnutrition occurs when there's a surplus of nutrients relative to the amount that the body requires for normal growth, development, and metabolism.

Morbid Obesity

While the term "malnutrition" often conjures images of undernourished individuals, it's essential to understand that malnutrition encompasses both undernutrition and overnutrition. Overnutrition can lead to numerous health problems, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.

Causes[edit | edit source]

Measuring a burger

Overnutrition can result from:

  • Excessive Caloric Intake: Consuming more calories than the body can expend.
  • Unbalanced diet: High intake of specific nutrients, such as fats or sugars, without a balanced intake of other essential nutrients.
  • Reduced Physical Activity: Sedentary lifestyles can contribute to caloric surplus.
  • Genetics: Some individuals might be predisposed to store excess energy more efficiently.

Consequences[edit | edit source]

Eating vegetables

The detrimental health effects of overnutrition include:

  • Obesity: Excess body weight increases the risk of several chronic diseases.
  • Metabolic syndrome: A cluster of conditions including increased blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, excess body fat, and abnormal cholesterol levels.
  • Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases: Such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.
  • Digestive disorders: Overeating can strain the digestive system, leading to problems like acid reflux and gallstones.

Management and Prevention[edit | edit source]

Preventing and managing overnutrition involves:

  • Balanced diet: Incorporate a varied diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
  • Physical activity: Regular exercise helps to balance caloric intake with expenditure.
  • Education: Raising awareness about the importance of balanced nutrition.
  • Health Monitoring: Regular check-ups can help in early detection and intervention.

Societal Implications[edit | edit source]

Overnutrition has broader implications beyond individual health:

  • Economic Impact: Increased healthcare costs related to treating chronic diseases.
  • Productivity Loss: Health issues can lead to decreased workplace productivity and absenteeism.
  • Strain on Healthcare Systems: Rising prevalence can overwhelm healthcare infrastructure.

See Also[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

Overnutrition Resources
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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD