[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
November 9, 1970

Hunger and Malnutrition

Author Affiliations

Nashville, Tenn

JAMA. 1970;214(6):1123. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03180060097035

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


To the Editor.—  It is unfortunate that in its report to the American Medical Association House of Delegates the Council on Foods and Nutrition has chosen seemingly to equate hunger with undernutrition and malnutrition. Hunger is a physiological or emotional state in which an individual "hungers" for something, sometimes food, but very often something having no direct relation to nutrition, for example, hunger for a steak or a popsickle by a person in a perfectly normal nutritional state. Hunger is a common complaint or symptom of persons who are overweight or obese and whose intake of food is adequate and more than adequate in all respects. Actually, starvation (undernutrition) is most often accompanied by a lack of hunger. In my experience hunger as a presenting complaint by undernourished or malnourished patients has been infrequent but hunger is a common complaint of obese patients. Subclinical undernutrition or malnutrition as