Malnutrition: A Risk to Child Development and Society

Did you know that malnutrition increases the chances of not being able to write a simple sentence by the age of eight by 12 percent? That malnourished children up to 3.6 years receive less education? Did you know that girls, in particular, suffer from a lack of education What exactly is malnutrition?

 In order to describe the nutritional situation of children, the World Health Organization distinguishes between three forms of malnutrition, which describe the condition of those who are starving: wasting, stunting, and underweight. Was ting is the most severe form and a visible sign of acute malnutrition. Children with wasting weight too little in relation to their height. Stunting is a result of chronic malnutrition and manifests itself in the fact that children are too small for their age. If underweight is diagnosed, the child weighs too little for its age. Appalling levels of child malnutrition

Approximately 194 million children worldwide suffer from malnutrition. Around 149 million are too small for their age (stunting) and more than 45 million weigh too little for their height (wasting). Malnutrition is often seen as a pure health issue. However, this does not go far enough, because malnutrition has far-reaching negative effects on the development of children and consequently also on the development of society.

 Malnutrition in childhood has chronic consequences

Even before birth, malnutrition can become a risk factor for the child. A poor diet for the mother and the resulting vitamin D deficiency affects both the growth of the fetus and the development of the brain. After the birth, the first 1,000 days of a child’s life are particularly indicative. Damage caused by malnutrition in this time window of early childhood development cannot be cured. The consequences range from restricted physical and mental development to a weak immune system and a short life expectancy. Overall, studies show that underdevelopment at a young age leads to impaired cognitive skills and poor academic performance.

Effects of malnutrition during school hours

Malnourished children have a harder time in school. In addition to fatigue and poor concentration, their nutritional status makes them physically weaker and more susceptible to disease. As a result, it is more difficult for them to acquires skills and key competencies that would help them in their lives. In addition, underdeveloped children are more prone to depression and anxiety. In addition, malnutrition weakens children’s self-confidence, their desire to have a career and shape their future.

What To Do?

The first good news is that proper nutrition, coupled with education, can quickly bring about socio-economic change. The second good news is that we know exactly what nutritional areas to start with.

How can malnutrition be combated?

 The first two years of a child’s life – especially the first 1,000 days – are the crucial period in order to prevent the negative effects of malnutrition and to prevent the vicious cycle of poverty from taking its course. Early nutrition measures have lasting and long-term effects – because good nutrition increases the chances of better education and success in professional life. Depending on the country, timely relief measures for malnourished children can increase the income of adults by up to 50 percent. It also affects better education also focus on nutrition. If the mother is educated, this has a positive influence on the child’s well-being. This shows that malnutrition poses a threat to development and the economy. Ensuring healthy development in early childhood is therefore also a good decision from an economic point of view.

Nutrition and education are the keys

Every euro invested in the fight against malnutrition pays off many times over. Through good nutrition, malnourished children can use their full potential and thus – thanks to a strong body and mind – contribute to the economic upswing of a society. In a global economy where a highly skilled workforce is needed more than ever, the only way to break the cycle of poverty is to eradicate malnutrition among children. Governments today must invest in a healthy and well-trained workforce in order to be able to withstand international competition in the future. Investing in the fight against malnutrition is the first step in breaking the cycle of poverty and creating equal opportunities

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