One in three children under age of 5 malnourished: UNICEF report

hile 149 million youngsters under five have stunted growth or too short for their age, 50 million are too thin for their height, common signs of undernutrition.

Published: 16th October 2019 01:30 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th October 2019 02:12 PM   |  A+A-

In this Sunday, May. 3, 2015 file photo a doctor attends to a malnourished child at a refugee camp in Yola, Nigeria.

In this Sunday, May. 3, 2015 file photo a doctor attends to a malnourished child at a refugee camp in Yola, Nigeria. (File Photo | AP)

By IANS

UNITED NATIONS: At least one in three children under five across the globe are malnourished and not developing properly, a report of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) revealed.

"An alarmingly high number of children are suffering the consequences of poor diets and a food system that is failing them," the UNICEF warned in its report on children, food and nutrition on Tuesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

Over 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."

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 or too short for their age, 50 million are too thin for their height, common signs of undernutrition.

However, another 40 million in the same age bracket are overweight or obese. 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."

Poor diets are being introduced at the onset of life, which prove particularly detrimental in the crucial first 1,000 days. Though breastfeeding is shown to be lifesaving, only 42 per cent of children under six months of age are exclusively breastfed, with a growing reliance on infant formula, according to the report.

Children living in poverty, bear the greatest burden of all forms of malnutrition, with poorer families more inclined to purchase lower-quality, less costly food options.

The lack of healthy food perpetuates families' poverty status across generations, with the challenges posed by environmental changes worsening the problem.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp