Talk:Protein–energy malnutrition

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hyphen or dash[edit]

Dash indicates protein versus energy, or protein to energy. It can also indicate and, but there are types of malnutrition where you lack only protein or only energy.

Hyphen indicates protein and energy, or protein or energy, which is the correct meaning of this compound. A dash can indicate "and" but not "or". Also, a hyphen is used "To link related terms in compound modifiers", according to WP:HYPHEN.

I looked at all the sources in the article. I could only verify the exact name in three sources[1][2][3]. All of them used a hyphen.

A cursory search in google scholar [4] shows lots of papers and books using a hyphen, and a handful using a space. I couldn't find any dash in the first 7 pages of results (without clicking in the results).

The mover said that "almost all book sources use the en dash", but I search in google books[5], and in the 3 first pages I find:

--Enric Naval (talk) 16:51, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

You have to actually look at the pages. Of the ones you list as hyphen, link6 has en dash on p.41, for example. I found a lot of en dashes when I looked; easily enough to justify the conclusion that the hyphens in the others was serving that role in a different style, as opposed to signifying the adjective form of a compound "protein energy"; the sometimes use of "and", and the omission of the hyphen sometimes, also support that structural interpretation. It is WP style, per MOS:DASH, to signal that interpretation to readers by using the en dash. Dicklyon (talk) 22:19, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
These 400+ articles also support the "and" interpretation. Dicklyon (talk) 22:22, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
Many are talking about kwashiorkor, the variant that has deficit of both things. You can find 65 results for the "or" interpretation, which a dash doesn't support at all.
You say "I found a lot of en dashes when I looked". But this is meaningless, because in any set of results I can pick only the results that support my theory. I have already shown that most sources use a hyphen.
And, searching the term in encyclopedias[22] in the first 5 pages all results use hyphen or space. I don't see any book that claims to be an encyclopedia and uses a dash in that term.
If I search in google scholar, out the first 10 results, 9 use hyphen or dash, and the 1 using dash is a letter to the editor[23] whuch refers to a book review that also uses a dash[24] but surprise! the original scholar book spells the term with a hyphen[25]. Looks like this journal has a editor who thinks dashes are more "correct" than hyphens, just like it's happening here.
So, your interpretation is not followed by a huge majority of sources.
I see a much more likely interpretation: that all those encyclopedias use a hyphen because it's the correct spelling, and that a few sources use a dash because it looks more "correct" to them. --Enric Naval (talk) 23:19, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
It's not a difference of interpretation so much as a difference of style. Some publications use the hyphen where en dash is correct, because that's their style. Other change back to en dash when it has the right meaning, as that editor did, and as we do in WP per MOS:DASH. We have a style that helps clarify meaning by distinguishing the roles of the hyphen and the en dash. Not everyone does that, obviously. This has been beat to death before; not clear why you want to open it up again. Dicklyon (talk) 00:07, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
And the dash is also OK if they mean "or", or "and/or", as long as the connected items are parallel, as some guides describe it (as in versus, between, to, interpretations as well). Dicklyon (talk) 00:09, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
Here is an encyclopedia you missed. Here's another. You have to actually look at the book, as the OCR doesn't distinguish the en dash from a hyphen usually. Dicklyon (talk) 00:18, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
Add 2 more[26][27]. And discount 4 where the name only appears in the bibliography[28][29][30][31] and 1 that is not an encyclopedia[32] and 1 that is a dictionary of bibliographies[33] and 1 that I can't verify. There are still 39 out of 43 that use a hyphen (a few use a space, I haven't counted them).
I found sources that explicitly say that the name is spelled with a hyphen:
  • "The insertion of the hyphen between protein and calorie/energy has become standard practice, however the reasons for doing so have never been entirely clear (...)"[34] (from google preview)
  • "Examples of Properly Used Hyphens. Some examples of properly used hyphens follow. Note how the hyphenated word acts as a single unit carrying a meaning that the words being joined would not have individually. (...) protein-calorie malnutrition" Style for Students Online. Effective Technical Writing in the Information Age Penn State University.
So, this hyphen is not a style choice but a standard practice. --Enric Naval (talk) 01:27, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
A few use slashes, too. The space, dash, and slash are all alternatives that people choose when they can tell that the hyphen seems to be sending the wrong signal. Yes, it's a "standard practice" to use a hyphen for an en dash in many styles (leading to remarks like "the reasons for doing so have never been entirely clear"). But in styles that leverage correct typography to signal meaning more clearly, the dash is preferred. As for your "Style for Students..." guide, that's an example of style that does NOT use the en dash that way; the only say "its best usage is to indicate inclusive dates and numbers." So, yes, in their style, the hyphen is correct. Dicklyon (talk) 02:18, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
OK, I see that this is indeed a style decision. --Enric Naval (talk) 14:35, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
  • It's just like protein–protein and quite a few other dashed couplets—scientists are products, too, of a school system that doesn't seem to think typography and punctuation are worth even talking about. It's little wonder that you find a zoo of confusion on the net by professional scientists and engineers (and even some professional editors). Some examples will have the proper en dash, but many are clearly the result of a brow-knitting "I know something should happen here, so I'll have a guess ... no one seems to care" attitude. So we get "protein protein", "protein/protein", "protein-protein", and "protein–protein" (the last in no less august a publication as PLoS. WP's authority partly comes from dealing with this messy stuff, and editors by and large want to consult a place like MoS or MoS talk to get it right, consistently. This should be a dash for all of the reasons Dicklyon has explained. Tony (talk) 04:47, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

Is this a mistake ?[edit]

During pregnancy, one should aim for a diet that consists at least 20% protein for the health of the fetus. That seems like it would be pretty difficult. High-protein meat and dairy products seem to top out at around 20%. But is it convention that water is excluded when making a measurement like this, as if everything was in the form of dried jerky? Soap 12:39, 17 August 2015 (UTC)


I did a read through of this article and found some areas for improvement which I would like to bring forth.

While this article is titled protein-energy malnutrition, a majority of it solely focuses on prenatal protein malnutrition. In this section you outline various studies that have been conducted on the effects of not consuming enough protein during pregnancy; however, the two other sections which you write about lack the same level of detail and are instead based off on one respective source.

In addition, this article starts by categorizing protein-energy deficiencies under three different names. However, later in this article, when referencing protein-energy malnutrition, the three categories are not brought up. Therefore, I was wondering how relevant the categorization is in terms of the purpose of this article.

Also as a side note, the second source contains a broken link; however, i was able to locate the article here: LakshmiMod (talk) 20:46, 22 January 2017 (UTC)Lakshmi Modugu 1/22/17