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Canadian Paediatric Society

Module 2 - Undernutrition

What’s in this module?

This module serves to introduce residents to the issues surrounding undernutrition as it applies to children in the resource limited setting of the developing world. The term ‘malnutrition’ includes both overnutrition (obesity) and undernutrition and as such, there has been a transition in both the literature and nutrition programs to the term undernutrition, although sources may still refer to severe acute malnutrition (SAM), implying undernutrition.

The session opens with a novel exercise in which every resident receives a child nutrition case card, assumes that child’s identity and plots themselves on the WHO growth charts. The session then transitions to a discussion about how undernutrition contributes to global child mortality. Residents will come to understand how the causes of undernutrition are multifactorial. These teaching points are enhanced by a video of an undernourished African child in which a local health care worker describes contributing factors to his poor state of health.

The second half of the module focuses on the clinical skills required to recognize, diagnose and treat children on the protein-energy undernutrition spectrum through the use of an OSCE-style clinical case based on the child in the video. An optional practical exercise is provided at the end to transpose residents’ management knowledge from a resource poor setting to an undernourished refugee child new to Canada.

Learning Objectives

  • Appreciate that undernutrition contributes greatly to global child health.
  • Understand the immediate, underlying and social causes of undernutrition.
  • Discuss a clinical approach to a child with undernutrition.
  • Describe key management concepts for severe acute malnutrition (SAM).

For a copy of the curriculum and the trainer manual email education@cps.ca.

Last updated: Jan 9 2015