Starvation And Its Effects on Our Health

In some cases, we might have come across individuals with certain deficiencies or people who have lost about half of their body weight resulting from starvation but the fact still remains that starvation might not just be a case of underfeeding and the inability to eat.  It could also be a case of feeding but not consuming the right nutrient needed by the body.


Most people starve for certain reasons; a few could starve to lose weight while others could starve due to their inability to get their hands on any meal. Majority of the people who starve, do this in order to lose weight and could endanger themselves in the long run.

Here, we would be looking at certain facts and health risks of starvation.

Starvation is the result of a severe or total lack of nutrients needed for the maintenance of life.


Starvation, as stated earlier could be caused by certain factors and these factors include:

  • Inability to obtain food – This is one of the major causes of starvation in our society and could be as a result of famine, child abuse, aftermath of war and the likes.
  • Fasting – Most people decide to fast and keep themselves away from meals for certain reasons and this is a major cause of starvation which could have effects on their health.
  • Anorexia nervosa – This is an eating disorder which is characterised by extreme calorie restriction.
  • Severe gastrointestinal disease
  • Stroke


When an individual is being starved, he/she is prone to lose about 50% of his/her body weight as the body structure would have been affected.

The following are symptoms of starvation:

  • Anaemia
  • Decreased ability to digest foods due to lack of digestive acid production
  • Shrinkage of vital organs such as the lungs, the heart, ovaries or testes
  • Chronic diarrhea

Effects of Starvation on health:


Malnutrition – Starvation could lead to malnutrition very easily. When you are being deprived or cut-off from nutrients and certain important calories, certain conditions or illnesses are prone to happen.

Reduced Energy Level – An individual who is a victim of starvation cannot perform well with his/her daily activities as there would be no enough energy to carry out certain tasks. Starvation causes your metabolism to decrease and less efforts will be put in your daily activities.

Muscle Loss – If you starve yourself, you are prone to lose muscles faster as the body tends to use stored fat as a means of energy.

Eating Disorder – Starvation is prone to affect the feeding of an individual.

Other effects include:

  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Headache
  • Bloodshot eye
  • Stress