Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

5.6m children dying from malnutrition

More than a quarter of all children under the age of five in developing countries are underweight, many to a life-threatening degree, says a UNICEF report published today. Poor nutrition remains a global epidemic, contributing to more than half of all child deaths - about 5.6 million per year. “For every visibly undernourished child, there are several more battling a hidden nutritional crisis,” said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman. “Many are seriously deficient in essential vitamins and minerals such as iodine, vitamin A and iron.” Vitamin and minerals are essential to develop children’s bodies and minds. Without them, children become easy prey for common diseases and under perform at school. For example, a lack of iodine in household diets leaves 37 million newborns vulnerable to learning disabilities every year. Iron deficiency is also a major cause of maternal deaths.The report charts national and regional progress towards the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG): to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by 2015. Achieving this goal means halving the proportion of children who are underweight for their age, the most visible sign of malnutrition. But current trends show the world is still far off track. Nearly three quarters of the world’s underweight children live in just ten countries, and over half in just three countries: Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. These figures are just the tip of the iceberg, according to UNICEF.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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