Thursday, 1st June 2023
<To guardian.ng
Search

United Nations alerts on rise in obese children

By Chukwuma Muanya
25 May 2023   |   4:00 am
New estimates on child malnutrition show that an estimated 148 million children under five (22 per cent) had stunted growth in 2022, while wasting and overweight affected 45 million and 37 million children under five, respectively.

• Says 148m children under-five had stunted growth in 2022
• Wasting, overweight affected 45m, 37m respectively

New estimates on child malnutrition show that an estimated 148 million children under five (22 per cent) had stunted growth in 2022, while wasting and overweight affected 45 million and 37 million children under five, respectively.

The findings, based on 2022 data released, yesterday, by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organisation (WHO), and the World Bank, show “stunting has been declining steadily over the last decade with 148.1 million or 22.3 per cent of children under age five worldwide affected in 2022. Nearly all children affected lived in Asia (52 per cent of the global share) and Africa (43 per cent of the global share).”

Stunting is the devastating result of poor nutrition in-utero and early childhood. Children suffering from stunting may never attain their full possible height and their brains may never develop to full cognitive potential.

These children begin their lives at a marked disadvantage, with consequences continuing into adulthood: they face learning difficulties in school, earn less as adults, and face barriers to participation in their communities.

Stunting refers to a child who is too short for his or her age. Children affected by stunting can suffer severe irreversible physical and cognitive damage that accompanies stunted growth. The devastating consequences of stunting can last a lifetime and even affect the next generation.

Wasting refers to a child who is too thin for his or her height. Wasting is the result of recent rapid weight loss or failure to gain weight. A child who is moderately or severely wasted has an increased risk of death, but treatment is possible.

Overweight refers to a child who is too heavy for his or her height. This form of malnutrition results when energy intakes from food and beverages exceed children’s energy requirements. Overweight increases the risk of diet-related non-communicable diseases later in life.

The 2023 edition of ‘Levels and Trends in Child Malnutrition’ includes country estimates, a breakdown of individual country’s contribution to the global burden, and a regional and global assessment of progress towards 2030 targets.

According to the report, child wasting is the life-threatening result of poor nutrient intake and/or recurrent illnesses. Children suffering from wasting have weakened immunity, are susceptible to long-term developmental delays and face an increased risk of death, particularly when wasting is severe. Children suffering from severe wasting require early detection and timely treatment and care to survive.