Thursday, April 18, 2013

Stunting Detrimental to Physical and Cognitive Growth

Children in Burundi
Millions of children across the world are susceptible to stunting, or poor growth, as a result of inadequate nutrition. But the effects of stunting reach far beyond a child’s size; stunted growth means that children are more vulnerable to illness, have lower cognitive abilities, and have lower chances of earning a decent living as adults. At its most severe, poor nutrition is life-threatening, causing one third of deaths in children under 5.
Inadequate nutrition is a serious problem with long-term consequences. Despite efforts to target children under two through expanding nutrition programs, overall declines in stunting have not been achieved.
According to an article from SOS Children, an organization that works with orphans in Burundi, cases of stunting in Ethiopia and Rwanada have been reduced, but the same cannot be said for other countries, Burundi in particular. In its latest report, ‘Improving Child Nutrition' (released April 2013), UNICEF reveals that Burundi has the second-highest rate of stunting (58%) among 21 countries where more than two-fifths of children under five are affected, and has made no progress towards the first Millennium Development Goal of “eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.” According to the report, less than one in ten children receive adequate nutrition in terms of the frequency and quality of meals needed to promote healthy growth.
Significant efforts must be made towards improving nutrition, to ensure children’s physical, as well as mental and emotional, growth. Otherwise, the detrimental effects will continue to undermine the health and productivity of the nation’s people, as well as the prosperity of the nation itself.
Friends of Humanity is concerned about the well-being of children worldwide, particularly in Burundi. Currently, we support the Maison Shalom's International School (Ruyigi) in its efforts to educate children and prepare them for a successful future, both mentally and physically. To learn more about the project, or to donate, click here.

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