Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Severe protein malnutrition, especially in children after weaning, marked by lethargy, growth retardation, anemia, edema, potbelly, skin depigmentation, and hair loss or change in hair color.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A form of malnutrition, found in children, caused by dietary insufficiency of protein in combination with a high carbohydrate diet.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. severe malnutrition in children resulting from a diet excessively high in carbohydrates and low in protein

Etymologies

Ga (Niger-Congo language of Ghana) kwashiɔkɔ.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • I notice one young boy's badly swollen feet: they're a sign of a medical condition known as kwashiorkor, or severe protein deficiency.

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  • She had what is called kwashiorkor i.e. severe protein and calorie malnutrition.

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  • It was assumed to be a traveler's version of the widespread tropical deficiency disease called kwashiorkor, from a Gold Coast term meaning "displaced child."

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol XX No 1

  • The West learned a new word, "kwashiorkor," the fatal lack of protein from which thousands of children were dying.

    1968 the Year that Rocked the World

  • Nutritional diseases such as kwashiorkor are no longer notifiable, and so it is not easy to estimate their scale.

    Triumphs' Part 2 - Health, Welfare and the Family

  • The dumping - grounds have become death camps in which not only cholera and typhoid, but other diseases - gastro - enteritis, poliomyelitis, tuberculosis, malaria, as well as diseases of starvation, such as kwashiorkor, marasmus and pellagra - flourish.

    Triumphs' Part 2 - Health, Welfare and the Family

  • The common diseases in Nigeria are nutritional such as kwashiorkor and marasmus; parasitic like malaria and water borne such as cholera and guinea worm.

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  • The term is generally used to designate both increasingly rare forms of severe clinical malnutrition (such as kwashiorkor and marasmus) and the more common forms of growth faltering or growth impairment (often termed mild or moderate malnutrition).

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  • "kwashiorkor" describes the malnourishment of a child weaned too early because his or her mother became pregnant again too quickly.

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  • Jeanette was suffering from kwashiorkor, a micronutrient deficiency that causes swelling in the hands and feet, tooth loss, distinctive rust-colored hair and a painfully distended belly.

    World Vision: Malnutrition Starves Children, Economies of a Lifetime of Potential

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  • "At the eleventh hour, Tom Who? came across with somuch alacrity that suspicions must have been aroused. There was no time by then to check these out because the delegates had to be organised out of saddling McGovern with some woman or black or pot smoker. McGovern was running out of arm's reach of his core supporters to angle after the centre and the centres of organised tyranny, but the exhausted delegates, after a week without sleep and a diet that should have given them kwashiorkor, were still supporting him as trustingly as ever."
    - 'The Big Tease', Germaine Greer in Harper's Monthly Magazine, Oct 1972.

    April 13, 2008

  • Kwashiorkor (a native name in Ghana--formerly the Gold Coast) is caused by an insufficient intake of protein by the body and chiefly affects children in tropical countries, "producing apathy, oedema of the extremities, desquamation, and partial loss of pigmentation...and leading in severe cases to death."

    The term was introduced by British physician Cicely Williams in 1935, and the explanation given by Williams of the development of the disease is as follows. When a second or subsequent child it born into the family of the Kwa culture, the earlier child no longer eats from the mother's breast and therefore begins to eat a different diet. Often this different diet is poor in the amino acids supplied by mother's milk and rich in carbohydrates. Kwashiorkor, whose most prevalent sign is a swollen abdomen, is a Kwa word meaning "the one who is displaced," and points to the disease suffered by the older child who must "make room for" his/her younger sibling.

    October 17, 2007