INCAP studies of kwashiorkor and marasmus

Food Nutr Bull. 2010 Mar;31(1):34-41. doi: 10.1177/156482651003100105.


This article summarizes thirty years of intensive clinical metabolic and therapeutic studies of the consequences of severe protein deficiency relative to calories, which results in kwashiorkor, and of a balanced deficiency of protein and calories that results in marasmus. Evidence is provided that these are two different metabolic diseases, but kwashiorkor is usually superimposed on some degree of chronic marasmus and hence most cases studied were marasmic kwashiorkor. The value of the creatinine/height index to indicate the degree of lean body cell mass with any disease is demonstrated.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Academies and Institutes / history*
  • Body Height
  • Central America / epidemiology
  • Creatinine / urine
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Kwashiorkor / diet therapy
  • Kwashiorkor / etiology
  • Kwashiorkor / history*
  • Kwashiorkor / physiopathology
  • Protein-Energy Malnutrition / diet therapy
  • Protein-Energy Malnutrition / etiology
  • Protein-Energy Malnutrition / history*
  • Protein-Energy Malnutrition / physiopathology
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Creatinine