A form of malnutrition; kwashiorkor is a condition resulting from inadequate protein intake. This is typically a disease of impoverished countries often seen in the midst of drought or political turmoil. It is also prevalent in parts of the world where the diet consists mainly of starchy vegetables, particularly Africa, Central and South America, and South Asia. Such a diet is often deficient in certain amino acids, which make up proteins vital for growth.

Depending on the severity and duration of the condition, symptoms can include skin changes, edema, a severely bloated abdomen, diarrhea, and (in children) generally retarded development.

MEDLINE Plus Health Information: A service of the National Library of Medicine, http://medlineplus.adam.com