The tragedy of malnutrition among children | Nutrition & Health |

28 May 2013, Public Service Europe, LIam Crosby and Frazer Goodwin, Save the Children -- "Although child mortality is declining in developing countries, many young people are too unhealthy and badly educated to enter the workplace.


For years, the importance of tackling malnutrition has not been prioritised by political leaders. Although it is the underlying cause of more than two million child deaths every year, it is not recorded on death certificates. And so for too long it has remained an invisible, uncounted problem.

This in turn means that large inequalities in malnutrition rates remain. Around the world, people born in the poorest 40 per cent of households in their country are on average 2.8 times more likely to be stunted that their richer peers; a figure that has remained worryingly high for two decades. These children are in turn more likely to have offspring who are stunted. Their ability to lift themselves out of poverty through hard work and innovation is, therefore, curtailed.

As part of the European Union policy on nutrition adopted by development ministers today, the EU has committed to reducing the number of stunted children by seven million. But without concrete plans and funding this commitment will remain aspirational. As a result, ministers also concluded that there is a need for the European Commission to adopt an 'action plan' elaborating on exactly how its stunting target will be delivered.

We know that malnutrition costs lives and that investing in proven interventions is the right thing to do. Our report Food for Thought sets out how tackling nutrition is also the smart thing to do. The new research shows that those who are malnourished during childhood are nearly 20 per cent less likely to be able to read a simple sentence, and more likely to have fallen behind at school. They then go on to earn as much as 20 per cent less as adults than their better-nourished counterparts. ..."

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