Health Care

‘1 in 3 children under 5 undernourished or overweight’

‘1 in 3 children under 5 undernourished or overweight’”

In the United Kingdom, the situation is a growing crisis.

Globally nearly 200 million children under five are malnourished, mostly due to poverty and deprivation, while 340 million suffer from hidden hunger in the form of vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

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".

UNICEF in a statement released in Abuja, on Wednesday, said the report confirmed that as children transit to soft or solid foods around the six month mark, too many are introduced to the wrong kind of diet. The way we understand and respond to malnutrition needs have to change. "That's our common challenge now".

"This triple burden - undernutrition, a lack of crucial micronutrients, obesity - is increasingly found in the same country, sometimes in the same neighbourhood, and often in the same household", Victor Aguayo, head of UNICEF's nutrition programme, told AFP.

"This is the second highest proportion after the Democratic Republic of Congo in the West and Central Africa region". On the occasion, Dam, UNICEF representatives, and other delegates signed a commitment to improving the diets of women and young children during the complementary feeding period./. "Iron deficiency reduces children's ability to learn and iron deficiency anaemia increases women's risk of death during or shortly after childbirth".

Being too thin for their height can be lethal for children. Another 50 million are affected by wasting.

Over the last three decades, however, another form of child malnutrition has surged across the developing world: excess weight.

Obesity is rapidly rising among children and young people around the world, driving early outbreaks of type 2 diabetes.

Despite a almost 40 percent drop from 1990 to 2015 of stunting in poor countries, 149 million children four or younger are today still too short for their age, a clinical condition that impairs both brain and body development.

The report highlighted that only 7% of South Sudanese children aged under five years enjoyed an adequate diet.

Unicef say that 10 times more girls and 12 times more boys between five and 19 are obese today than in 1975. "As the children grow older, their exposure to unhealthy food becomes alarming, driven largely by inappropriate marketing and advertising, the abundance of ultra-processed foods in cities but also in remote areas, and increasing access to fast food and highly sweetened beverages".

- Incentivizing food suppliers to provide healthy, convenient and affordable foods. Though breastfeeding can save lives, for example, only 42 per cent of children under six months of age are exclusively breastfed and an increasing number of children are fed infant formula.

Milk substitute sales rose by 72 per cent between 2008 and 2013 in upper middle-income countries including Brazil, China and Turkey.

And it adds: "At the same time, almost two million children in England live in food poverty, and less than one fifth of five-to 15-year-olds eat five portions of fruits and vegetables a day".



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