Thursday, February 16, 2012

Worldwide Malnutrition--A Hidden Crisis

Half A Billion Children At Risk From Malnutrition
by Medical News Today
Article Date: 15 Feb 2012

Save the Children released a report today, claiming that childhood malnutrition over the next fifteen years, puts nearly five hundred million youngsters at risk of permanent health problems.

Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children said in a statement : "Malnutrition is a largely hidden crisis, but it afflicts one in four children around the world ... It wreaks lifelong damage and is a major killer of children. Every hour of every day, 300 children die because of malnutrition."

The report which is entitled "A Life Free from Hunger: Tackling Child Malnutrition," coincides with news of the latest emergency food crisis coming to light. The African Sahel region in West Africa, which is centered around Hodh Gharbi scrubland in Mauritania, is facing severe food shortages. There is a humanitarian crisis growing, but while these shocking disasters make headlines, the longer term creeping aspects of chronic malnutrition, or a lack of proper nutrition over time, is seen by Save The Children as being deadlier and more widespread than these headline grabbing short-term acute situations.

The problem is that chronic malnutrition weakens young children's immune systems, making them far more likely to die of childhood diseases like diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria. Estimates put the number of child deaths a year, at around 2 million, three times as many as result from acute malnutrition.

Chronic malnutrition also leaves children far more vulnerable to extreme suffering and death when emergency food crises hit, a prime example being in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel right now. Malnutrition is the underlying cause behind some 2.6 million child deaths every year, or more than 30% of all child deaths.

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