Malnutrition Is a Silent Emergency
Malnutrition plays a role in the majority of the deaths of children under five. Malnourished children are too weak to fight off illness, and they often become physically and mentally stunted. And malnutrition keeps children trapped in the cycle of poverty. UNICEF is there to make sure that all children get the proper nutrition they need to grow into healthy and productive adults.
We supply much-needed vitamins and nutrients to the world’s most severely malnourished children. In areas like Sudan, where the environment is hostile and poverty extreme, we distribute fortified foods like Plumpy'nut®, a high-protein, high-calorie peanut spread. We provide children with vitamin A to keep them from going blind, and we give folic acid to pregnant women.
By holding nutrition classes in local health centers, UNICEF supports mothers who are having difficulties properly nourishing their children. In hospitals and health centers all over the world, we help mothers breastfeed their newborn babies. 1.3 million babies still die every year because they are not properly breastfed.
We are also working to eliminate iodine deficiency, which can cause brain damage and physical impairment in children. With UNICEF’s help, a campaign was started in Bolivia to iodize table salt. The number of schoolchildren in Bolivia with iodine deficiency disorders was reduced from 60 percent a decade ago to almost none today.
Every child has the right to proper nutrition. Proper nutrition is needed to fight off disease and develop a healthy mind and body. When children are well nourished, they can attend school and become a productive member of society. UNICEF is committed to helping every child get the nutrition it needs for a healthy and promising future.
Related News Items
Friday, January 27, 2012
Report appeals for $1.28 billion to respond to the needs of the world’s most vulnerable
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Agency prepares for major malnutrition intervention across eight countries in 2012
Sunday, December 11, 2011
UNICEF is acting early to prevent food shortages in parts of West Africa turning into a children's famine.