Difference Between Kwashiorkor and Marasmus

Kwashiorkor is a type of nutrition deficiency disorder, which results from a severe protein deficiency. The patients suffering from Kwashiorkor have an emaciated appearance all over the body. They have a type of swelling in the ankles, feet and belly. Kwashiorkor is most common in rural areas, especially in the sub-urban regions and areas with low food supply are more prone to this disease.

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Marasmus is a type of nutrition deficiency disorder, which usually occurs in children. It can be life-threatening if not diagnosed at an early stage. This type of nutrition deficiency is mainly caused due to the deficiency of nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates and fats. Marasmus mainly occurs due to poverty and food scarcity.

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Both Kwashiorkor and Marasmus are caused due to nutritional deficiencies. The causes, symptoms, treatments for both the deficiency disorders vary.

Marasmus is severe malnutrition characterized by energy deficiency. Kwashiorkor is a protein deficiency disorder with adequate energy intake, whereas Marasmus is inadequate energy intake including proteins.

Also Read: Deficiency deficiencies

Let us have a clear look into the major differences between the Kwashiorkor and Marasmus.

Differences between Kwashiorkor and Marasmus

Differences between Kwashiorkor and Marasmus


Kwashiorkor Marasmus
Deficiency of proteins. Deficiency of both proteins and calories.
Age factors
Between the age of 6 months and 3 years of age. Between the age of 6 months and 1 year of age.
Present. Absent.
Subcutaneous fat
Present. Absent.
Weight loss
There is some weight loss. There is severe weight loss.
The thinning of muscles and limbs. The thinning of limbs.
Fatty liver cells
There is an enlargement in the fatty liver cells. There is no enlargement in the fatty liver cells.
Voracious feeder. Poor appetite.
The texture of the skin
Flaky paint appearance on the skin. Dry and wrinkled skin.
Requirement of Nutrition
Adequate amounts of proteins. Adequate amounts of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.

This article concludes the significant differences between Kwashiorkor and Marasmus.

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