UNICEF: Malnutrition Vicious Cycle Threatens Society

By Salma Yassin

CAIRO, March 2 (SEE)- According to the most recent study conducted by The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), malnutrition threatens the country’s future.

The study was a joint work between UNICEF, ministry of health and population in Egypt, the World Bank (WB) and other institutions.

Survey’s results confirmed that malnutrition rates among Egyptian children and adults still increasing.

The 4 main forms of malnutrition among kids are stunting, underweight problems, emaciation and obesity.

Stunting occurs when a child is too short compared to his age as a result of not getting a sufficient nutrition for a long period of time or being infected with a chronic disease more than once.

                                 Kids suffering from stunting

“In Egypt, one out of every 5 children under age of five suffers from stunting,” study revealed.

Underweight problem occurs when a child has less weight compared to his age and it’s also an obvious sign of severe malnutrition.

Underweight children rate reached 6% and has clearly increased since 2000 especially among young ladies.

In the same context, children who suffer from emaciation problem have less weight compared to their length.

According to the study, emaciation recent rate among children reached 8%.

Also, obesity among children is rising constantly and it’s a result of an excessive accumulation of fats in a child’s body that leads to many health problems in short and long run.

                    Overweight Brother and Sister Eating Takeaway Food

Shockingly, malnutrition with its four forms doesn’t affect kids only but it has dangerous effects on the whole society.

In short run, malnutrition can lead to increasing newborn morbidity rate besides increasing expenses of health care for families and government.

Subsequently, children who are already suffering from these symptoms will definitely face retarded growth problems besides educational attainments difficulties through different education stages.

In the long run, those young kids will be more vulnerable to non-communicable diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart diseases.

Also, they’ll have unsuccessful professional lives afterwards which finally leads to low productive capacity in many fields.

Eventually, this will hinder human capital development and represent a heavy burden on the country’s economy and advancement plans.

Prevention is what UNICEF currently focusing on through its joint program “the first 1,000 days of a child”.

This program focuses on healthy nutrition system for children while inside their mothers’ guts till the age of two.

                                            Newborn baby

This could be attained by considering mothers’ proper nutrition after many pregnant women were identified to be suffering from either anemia or obesity or both of them.

As a next step, the program focuses on increasing awareness of both mothers and health-care service providers regarding breastfeeding importance during child’s early ages.

                                     Mom breastfeeding her baby

After a baby reaches 6 months, mothers, through this program, should also know what nutritious food, supplements and essential vitamins should be taken by their kids.

Also, efforts of UNICEF, ministry of health and population besides other partners focus on kids’ surrounding environment that affects nutrition like poor sanitation services and daily personal hygiene

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