Did you know?
- An estimated 153 million children worldwide are orphans (UNICEF).
- HIV/AIDS has orphaned 17.9 million children, most of them in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia (UNICEF).
- Over 1 billion children live in countries affected by armed conflict (UNICEF).
- 67 million children of primary school age do not go to school (UNESCO).
- One in five children living in developing countries is severely underweight (World Bank, UN).
- Nearly half of all deaths in children under age 5 are attributable to undernutrition. This translates into the unnecessary loss of about 3 million young lives a year (UNICEF).
- Animal source foods are particularly rich sources of essential nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin B-12, riboflavin, calcium, iron and zinc which are essential for cognitive and physical development. Inadequate intake of animal protein nutrients can results in anemia, poor growth, rickets, impaired cognitive performance, blindness, neuromuscular deficits and in severe cases, death (Murphy and Allen 2003).
- The term protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) applies to a group of related disorders that include marasmus, kwashiorkor, and intermediate states of marasmus-kwashiorkor. Marasmus involves inadequate intake of protein and calories and is characterized by emaciation. Kwashiorkor refers to an inadequate protein intake with reasonable caloric (energy) intake. Edema is characteristic of kwashiorkor but is absent in marasmus (WHO).
- According to WHO more than a third of the world’s children are affected by protein-energy malnutrition.
- Undernutrition magnifies the effect of every disease, including measles and malaria which run rampant in developing countries. The estimated proportions of deaths in which undernutrition is an underlying cause are roughly similar for diarrhea (61%), malaria (57%), pneumonia (52%), and measles (45%) (Black 2003, Bryce 2005).
- By causing poor health, small body size, low levels of energy, and reductions in mental functioning, hunger can lead to even greater poverty by reducing people’s ability to work and learn, thus leading to even greater hunger (Victoria et al. 2008).