News / Asia

Report: Child Malnutrition Costs Global Economy Billions

According to the UN, in 2012 47% of children under five in southern Asia and 39% in sub-Saharan  Africa were stunted – too short for their age due to poor nutrition.
According to the UN, in 2012 47% of children under five in southern Asia and 39% in sub-Saharan Africa were stunted – too short for their age due to poor nutrition.
Selah Hennessy
A report by a Britain-based charity says one-quarter of the world's children may underperform at school because of chronic malnutrition. Save the Children says tackling malnutrition should be a priority for G8 leaders meeting next month in Northern Ireland.

The report published on Tuesday says a stunted eight-year-old is almost 20 percent more likely to find it hard to read basic sentences than someone of the same age who has a good diet.

David McNair, head of growth, equity and livelihoods at Save the Children UK, said, "Those who are malnourished have consistently scored lower on math tests and found it more difficult to read a simple sentence at age eight. And as they go through life that effects their confidence, career aspirations and ultimately their ability to earn money."

The report was based on an international study, Young Lives, which is led by a team from the University of Oxford. Thousands of children were involved in the research, which covered Ethiopia, India, Peru, and Vietnam.

It says the period from when a woman becomes pregnant until a child is two is a critical time for brain development. If the pregnant or breast-feeding woman and the infant don't have access to the right nutrients, both brain development and cognitive performance can be compromised.

McNair said the impact of malnutrition, however, goes beyond the biology of the brain.

"There is interesting evidence on the stimulus they receive. Because children who are malnourished look smaller, their parents and their caregivers tend to treat them as if they were younger than they are. And that means they do not get the right stimulus and their brains are not developing as a result of that stimulus," he said.

Tuesday's report says the impact of childhood malnutrition poses a major threat to the long-term economic growth of many developing countries.

U.N. figures suggest that last year nearly 50 percent of children under five in southern Asia and 40 percent of under-five in sub-Saharan Africa were stunted - too short for their age due to poor nutrition.

Save the Children predicts that malnourished children may, as adults, earn 20 percent less than their nourished peers, costing the global economy more than $100 billion a year.

Therefore, said McNair, targeting malnutrition now will have major long-term effects. But despite being one of the most cost-effective forms of development, nutrition programs get only slightly more than 0.3 percent of global development spending.

Early next month the British and Brazilian governments are hosting the first-ever nutrition pledging conference.
 
Save the Children wants spending on nutrition to more than double to $1 billion a year. And it aims to encourage middle-income countries to put nutrition at the top of their spending agenda.

"We want developing country governments also to make their own commitments. Because some of these countries where malnutrition is a major problem, countries like India and Nigeria, are actually middle-income countries and have resources themselves; they just need to invest in them in the right way," said McNair.

According to Save the Children, 10.9 million children under five in Nigeria are stunted. In India, the figure is 61.4 million.

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Robert C. Dickerson, II from: Seattle
May 28, 2013 7:01 PM
Today is World Hunger Day, and a number of RESULTS volunteers are fasting. Many around the world face starvation and malnutrition. In fact, malnutrition is such a severe problem that one in four children under age five around the world are stunted - their physical growth, and their brain development are reduced. For many of these children, the results of this stunting can never be repaired. On June 8, there will be a Nutrition for Growth Summit in London, in advance of the G-8 meeting. This is our opportunity to help address this problem. The means are simple - things like Vitamin A, Zinc, Iodized salt, and an emphasis on breast feeding. The U.S. doesn't need to do it all. But we certainly can lead.

In Response

by: Doug Leen from: Alaska
May 30, 2013 10:11 PM
I'd vote for world wide access to birth control.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid