There are millions of hungry people in the world – and nowhere is this number more devastating, than when applied to children. Many children suffer from what is sometimes called “hidden hunger” or “undernutrition” –a lack of proper nutrition called this because often times a child may not look sick or starving. But their body is slowly being starved of the nutrients it needs to function properly which can permanently affect brain development in children.
Some 148 million children under five in the developing world – or one in four – suffer from undernutrition, more than half of them in South Asia which has the highest rate of child malnutrition in the world with 41 per cent. Hunger not only makes one suffer, it also affects health severely. One in nine people on earth is currently under-nourished.
Know more about Malnutrition:
Child malnutrition is the single biggest contributor to under-five mortality due to greater susceptibility to infections and slow recovery from illness.
Children who do not reach their optimum height or consistently experience bouts of weight loss during childhood are affected in the long term in numerous ways. They do not reach their optimum size as adults, their brains are affected (resulting in lower IQs) and they are at greater risk of infection (which kills many children during their early years).
Low-birth-weight is a significant contributor to infant mortality. Moreover, low birth-weight babies who survive are likely to suffer growth retardation and illness throughout their childhood, adolescence and into adulthood. Growth-retarded adult women are likely to carry on the vicious cycle of malnutrition by giving birth to low birth-weight babies.
Malnutrition affects the Muscles and Bones:
Mobility: Weak muscles and bones can make it harder to do everyday tasks like walking, dressing, and bathing.
Posture: Muscles and bones are needed to help keep you upright. If they are weak, you may strain your neck, back, and shoulder muscles, causing you to feel pain.
Strength: Poor muscle strength may make it more difficult to do your favourite activities.
Falls: Bone and joint problems are major risk factors for falls—the leading cause of death and injury among older children.
Malnutrition affects the Immune System and Healing:
When your body lacks nutrition, your white blood cell count can decrease, making it harder for your body to heal and fight illnesses.
Malnutrition affects the Organs:
Not having enough protein and other nutrients can harm your organs.