Across the globe, at least one-in-three children under-five are malnourished and not developing properly, UNICEF revealed on Tuesday, in its most comprehensive report on children, food and nutrition in 20 years. "In the absence of any central guidelines, states often compromise on quality of such food impacting the outcomes of malnutrition", Dr Shariqua Yunus Khan, head - Nutrition at UN's World Food Programme says.
The State of the World's Children 2019: Children, food and nutrition finds that at least one in three children under five - or over 200 million - is either undernourished or overweight. Nearly 45 per cent of children between six months and two years of age are not fed any fruits or vegetables, increasing the risk of poor brain development, weak learning, low immunity, increased infections or death.
The lack of adequate nutrition increases youngsters' vulnerability to health problems, namely poor brain development, weak learning, low immunity, increased susceptibility to infections and in many cases, premature death.
Despite a almost 40 percent drop from 1990 to 2015 of stunting in poor countries, 149 million children aged four or younger are today still too short for their age, a clinical condition that impairs both brain and body development.
In its annual report, UNICEF warns that poor eating and feeding practices start from the earliest days of a child's life. It noted that, though breastfeeding save lives, only 27 percent of Nigerian children under six months of age are exclusively breastfed and an increasing number of them are fed with infant formula.
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"This is to really scale up our nutrition program, especially in the market so that they will really be producing or manufacturing healthy foods to be served to our children", she added. "Children's nutrition will improve significantly if there is an increase in the production and processing of healthy foods to deliver nutritious, safe, affordable and sustainable diets for all children", said Yasmin Haque, Unicef Representative in India. Speaking at the event, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said malnutrition among Vietnamese, particularly children, remains at a high level compared to other nations in the region. These rates go up to 62 percent and 49 percent for adolescents in high-income countries. From 2000 to 2016, the proportion of overweight children between 5 and 19 years of age doubled from 1 in 10 to 1 in 5.
The greatest burden of malnutrition in all its forms is shouldered by children and adolescents from the poorest and most marginalized communities, the report notes.
The report states one in every two Nepali children under two years of age is eating a poor diet. "It isn't only about getting kids enough to consume, but it's above all about getting them the ideal food to consume".
Collect and analyzing quality date to track progress.
The report also looks at how globalisation, urbanisation and the climate emergency are compounding unhealthy diets.
Overall, the effort to address faults in the food system must involve governments, the private sector and civil society, Ms.