Child malnutrition kills millions

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Almost half of all deaths of five-year-old children from malnutrition

Malnutrition kills millions of dead children every year. Especially in Asia and Africa, people are struggling with hunger and a lack of vitamins and nutrients. A new study also found that in 2011, 45 percent of all deaths of children under the age of five were due to malnutrition and problems with breastfeeding.

Malnutrition due to a lack of vitamins and minerals and problems with breastfeeding Malnutrition caused almost half of all under-five deaths in 2011. This was the result of a new study that was published in the current issue of the specialist magazine "Lancet". “We estimate that overall malnutrition, including fetal growth restriction, stunted growth, weight loss and a lack of vitamin A and zinc, along with suboptimal breastfeeding, is responsible for 3.1 million child deaths per year or 45 percent of all child deaths per year 2011 is, ”the researchers write. Asia and Africa remain among the most affected regions.

The research team led by Robert Black from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, USA, examined the physical effects of malnutrition. “While the prevalence of linear growth disorders in children younger than 5 years has decreased over the past two decades, it is still higher in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa than in any other region, affecting at least 165 million children in the world Year 2011, ”said the researchers. 52 million children worldwide were too light for their size and 100 million too light for their age.

Preventing 900,000 deaths from malnutrition every year with simple measures. As the scientists explain, malnutrition not only leads to physical development disorders but also influences mental performance and leads to an increased susceptibility to infectious diseases.

The mother's diet during pregnancy plays a crucial role in the child's development. The pregnant women would have to receive sufficient protein, folic acid, calcium and other important nutrients. In addition, breastfeeding must be advertised and other mothers should step in and feed if necessary. To counteract the lack of vitamin A and zinc in children, measures are also urgently needed, write Black and his team. If such measures were effective in 90 percent of the population, 900,000 lives could be saved annually, according to the researchers. They call on the G8 countries to take further measures to combat malnutrition as part of the summit to be held in Northern Ireland in mid-June. Malnutrition causes an enormous loss of productivity and drastically limits the economic performance of the countries.

"The focus of agricultural programs should shift towards improved nutrition and not increasing crop yields," Black told the International Press Service - IPS. "So far, these programs have not been implemented in an ideal way." (Sb)

Image: Christian Pohl /

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