United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, UNICEF, reported on Tuesday that one third of the world’s children under five years old, approximately 700 million, are undernourished or overweight children. They thus face lifelong health problems as a consequence.
UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore, unveiling the Fund’s first State of the World’s Children report since 1999 explained that, “If children eat poorly, they live poorly”.
“We are losing ground in the fight for healthy diets.”
According to the report, 149 million children under five years old are still too short for their age, a worrying clinical condition which weaken the brain as well as body development.
About 50 million are stricken by wasting, a chronic and debilitating thinness cause mostly due to poverty.
Young children overweight
UNICEF also rings the alarm bells on another form of child malnutrition that has surged across the world for the past three decades. That is excess weight.
“There needs to be a focus on obesity before it is too late,” explained Brian Keeley, editor-in-chief of a report to AFP.
“Unless you deal with it in a preventative way, you’re going to struggle to fix it later on”.
” Cheap, readily available junk food, often marketed directly to kids, has made the problem much worse”.
“Children are eating too much of what they don’t need — salt, sugar and fat,” Keeley added.
The report also highlighted the impact of climate change and how it is affecting the food that we eat.
It also explained that cutting out sugar foods and beverages and limiting the sale of junk food near school could help to make a difference.