Marasmus is a type of malnutrition which is caused by carbohydrates deficiency, which means it occurs when there is not enough intake of carbohydrates-containing food. Carbohydrates are commonly referred to as calories, which are vital for cell metabolism. It can cause growth and mental retardation.
As a result of marasmus, there is subcutaneous fat and muscle mass loss. Because the body cells need calories, they absorb the available energy stored in the body in the form of fat (lipid), which is found in the subcutaneous tissue underneath the skin, as well as muscle. This type of malnutrition is very common in poor countries, such as Somalia, Sudan, and Ethiopia, where there is food shortages, and is usually accompanied by kwashiorkor, which is protein deficiency.