Malnutrition kills over 3 million toddlers a year: UN

More than three million children under the age of five die annually of malnutrition, the UN food agency and World Health Organisation said on Thursday, urging governments to tackle the problem.

"Malnutrition is responsible for about half of all under five years of age, causing over three million deaths every year," the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said.

Some 162 million children are left stunted by chronic and 99 million children are underweight across the world, it added.

Since the first international conference on nutrition in 1992, "important advances in the fight against hunger and malnutrition have been made, but this progress has been insufficient and uneven," FAO head Jose Graziano da Silva said.

There has only been a 17 percent reduction in undernourishment since the early 1990s, leaving over 840 million people still chronically undernourished.

The FAO and WHO urged governments to "make stronger commitments... to ensure healthier diets for all" at an international conference on nutrition to be held in Rome in November.

They warned that various forms of malnutrition often overlap and can coexist within the same country and even within the same household.

"Around 160 million children under five are stunted or chronically malnourished, while over two billion people suffer one or more micronutrient deficiencies," they said in a statement.

"At the same time, another half billion are obese."

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said the aim of the upcoming conference was to get governments to ask themselves "why is it that severe undernutrition and obesity can exist side by side in the same country and in the same community?"

She also called for more research into the health and environmental implications of "the rapid rise in the demand for meat and other animal products that coincides with rising income levels."

Efforts to improve food and nutrition security continue to be hampered by low political commitment and weak institutional arrangements, the agencies said.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Food waste, diets in focus on UN World Food Day

Oct 16, 2013

The United Nations marked World Food Day on Wednesday, warning against food waste as 842 million people go hungry and stressing the importance of healthy diets amid rising obesity.

Recommended for you

US judge blocks enforcement of new abortion law

7 minutes ago

A federal judge has temporarily blocked Louisiana from enforcing its restrictive new abortion law. But lawyers and advocates appeared to disagree about whether the judge's order affects doctors at all five abortion clinics ...

New toilets for India's poor, crime-hit village

22 hours ago

More than 100 new toilets were unveiled Sunday in a poverty-stricken and scandal-hit village in northern India, where fearful and vulnerable women have long been forced to defecate in the open.

Can YouTube save your life?

Aug 29, 2014

Only a handful of CPR and basic life support (BLS) videos available on YouTube provide instructions which are consistent with recent health guidelines, according to a new study published in Emergency Medicine Australasia, the jo ...

Doctors frequently experience ethical dilemmas

Aug 29, 2014

(HealthDay)—For physicians trying to balance various financial and time pressures, ethical dilemmas are common, according to an article published Aug. 7 in Medical Economics.

User comments