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South Asia Carries Bulk of Maternal and Child Under-Nutrition, says UNICEF
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Most of the world’s chronically undernourished under fives–83 million children are in South Asia, according to a new UNICEF report: ‘Improving Child and Maternal Nutrition,’ released today. Global child under-nutrition is concentrated to just 24 countries and the top five which carry the bulk of the burden are South Asian countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and Nepal. All these countries have rates of more than 40 percent. “Under-nutrition steals a child’s strength and makes illnesses that the body might otherwise fight off far more dangerous,” said Ann M. Veneman UNICEF Executive Director.
Cutting under-nutrition is entirely feasible. The first 1,000 days – from before birth until the age of two – are the most critical for any child. Nutritional deficiencies during this “critical window of opportunity” can forever reduce a child’s ability to fight and survive disease, and impair their
social and mental capacities. After the age of two, that window closes and the opportunity for the child to thrive is lost. “The paradox of South Asia is that despite healthy levels of economic growth in many countries, chronic under-nutrition remains persistently and unacceptably high,” said Regional Director for UNICEF South Asia, Daniel Toole. “For far too long the nutrition of under-twos and pregnant women has been neglected. Too many interventions focus primarily on children older than two years and that is simply too late to make a lasting difference.” Under-nutrition diminishes a child’s ability to learn and then earn. Nutritional deficiencies and deprivations leave children stunted, slow, tired and listless with lower IQs that hold back their
performance well into adulthood. Chronically undernourished children are more prone to suffer from serious infections and die from common childhood illness such as diarrhoea, measles, pneumonia and malaria as well as HIV and AIDS.
UNICEF ,   (2009 )
Type / Script:
Press Release in English
Thematic Group:
 UNICEF : Children Fund
10.02.00  -  Comprehensive Health Services
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