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Measures of Child Undernutrition in The World

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Early childhood is the most critical and important phase of human development. It begins before birth, when a body and brain are being formed. It continues through early infancy and developmental milestones reached. Numerous lines of research confirm that this is a period of rapid physical and mental growth and change. Children learn to move, communicate, and interact with the world, and develop a sense of personal and cultural identity. Early childhood offers the greatest opportunities for positive human development, but is also the period when children are most at risk. Nearly half of all deaths in children under 5 are attributable to undernutrition If young children growing up in especially difficult circumstances—severe poverty, malnutrition, and disease—their growth will be hampered. In addition, the interaction between undernutrition and infection can create a potentially lethal cycle of worsening illness and deteriorating nutritional status. Sometimes early childhood is adversely affected by ethnicity, gender, disability, HIV and AIDS status, class/caste, or political and religious beliefs this types of discrimination can reduce survival rates and quality of life, and exclude children from full participation in society. Poor nutrition in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life can also lead to stunted growth, which is irreversible and associated with impaired cognitive ability and reduced school and work performance.

Positive interventions work best in early childhood with a variety of sectors including nutrition, health, and education. Research conclusively demonstrates the impact of well-planned interventions. The intervention requires families, communities, and states to provide appropriate support for young children’s development. It has the greatest impact on children most at risk, offering an unparalleled opportunity to wipe out the effects of socially disadvantaged and to break the cycles of poverty and inequality.

Measures of child undernutrition are used to track development progress. Sub-Saharan Africa has progressed least since the year 2000, when compared to other regions. Meanwhile, the number of overweight children worldwide – another aspect of malnutrition – is rising. In the Post-2015 development era, estimates of child malnutrition will help determine whether the world is on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals – particularly, Goal 2 to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture”. In 2016, 22.9 per cent, or just under one in four children under age 5 worldwide had stunted growth. That said, overall trends are positive. Between 2000 and 2016, stunting prevalence globally declined from 32.7 per cent to 22.9 per cent, and the number of children affected fell from 198 million to 155 million. In 2016, about two out of every four stunted children lived in South Asia (Afganisthan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Srilanka) and one in three in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2016 globally, 52 million children under 5 were wasted and 17 million were severely wasted. This translates into prevalence 7.7 per cent and 2.5 per cent, respectively. In 2016, more than half of all wasted children lived in South Asia and about one quarter in sub-Saharan Africa, with similar proportions for severely wasted children. At 16.0 per cent, South Asia’s wasting prevalence represents a “critical” public health problem; that of the Middle East and North Africa is approaching a “serious” need for intervention with appropriate treatment programmes (UNICEF).

The immediate causes of malnutrition are inadequate dietary intake, a high prevalence of disease or, most frequently, an interaction between the two. The underlying causes are i) related to food insecurity, ii) poor health conditions and iii) inadequate care. Under these general categories are a wide range of causes, including lack of immunizations, poor water supplies, inadequate household food supplies and women’s time constraints. Underlying causes are the more basic causes, such as the ways in which potential and existing resources are controlled and managed. What are the factors that restrict access to those resources for certain groups of people are rooted in these basic structures.

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Measures of Child Undernutrition in the World. (2019, January 15). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 19, 2021, from
“Measures of Child Undernutrition in the World.” GradesFixer, 15 Jan. 2019,
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Measures of Child Undernutrition in the World [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Jan 15 [cited 2021 Sept 19]. Available from:
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