Across the globe, at least one-in-three children under-five are malnourished and not developing properly, UNICEF revealed on Tuesday, in its most comprehensive report on children, food and nutrition in 20 years. “An alarmingly high number of children are suffering the consequences of poor diets and a food system that is failing them,” the UN children’s agency (UNICEF) warned.
Around 200 million children under-five are either undernourished or overweight, while one-in-three globally – and almost two-thirds of children between the fragile ages of six months to two years – are not fed food that nurtures proper development, The State of the World’s Children 2019: Children, food and nutrition, found. The lack of adequate nutrition increases youngsters’ vulnerability to health problems, namely poor brain development, weak learning, low immunity, increased susceptibility to infections and in many cases, premature death.
Despite growing technological advances to address health and nutrition, the world has lost sight of “the most basic fact: If children eat poorly, they live poorly”, the agency’s Executive Director, Henrietta Fore said, explaining that millions of children are not living on healthy diets “because they simply do not have a better choice.” “It is not just about getting children enough to eat; it is above all about getting them the right food to eat. That is our common challenge today”, she urged.
The flagship report describes the “triple burden” of malnutrition: Undernutrition, overweight, and deficiencies in essential nutrients. While 149 million youngsters under-five have stunted growth, 50 million are too thin for their height – common signs of undernutrition. Another 40 million in the same age bracket are overweight or obese, and at the same time, half of all children under five worldwide are not getting essential vitamins and nutrients, an issue UNICEF has dubbed “hidden hunger”.
Read more: UN News, https://is.gd/q2g9nU