Malnutrition may delay children’s recovery from infections — Dietician

A dietician-nutritionist, Nwabumma Asouzu has said that malnutrition has hidden dangerous impacts on the well-being and survival of children.Information Guide Nigeria

Asouzu who works with the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital said this during an interview with PUNCH HealthWise.

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According to her the nutrition expert, malnutrition slows wound healing and delays the recovery of children suffering from infections.

PUNCH reports that she warned  against ignoring the consequences of malnutrition in children as a statement by the United Nations agencies confirmed that Nigeria and 14 other countries were home to 30 million malnourished children.

Recall that UN recently called for urgent funding to help 30 million children suffering from acute malnutrition “before it is too late” in countries facing food crisis.

Five UN agencies said in a joint statement, “Currently, more than 30 million children in the 15 worst-affected countries suffer from wasting – or acute malnutrition – and eight million of these children are severely wasted, the deadliest form of undernutritio.”

These 15 countries include Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya, Yemen , Mali, Niger, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Madagascar.

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Speaking on the health and economic implications of malnutrition, Asouzu said:

“Poverty amplifies the risk of, and risks from malnutrition. Poor people are more likely to be affected by different forms of malnutrition.

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“Also, malnutrition increases health care costs, reduces productivity, and slows economic growth, which can perpetuate a cycle of poverty and ill health.

“Childhood malnutrition, including overnutrition, increases a child’s susceptibility to several different infections and often delays recovery from these infections thus posing a large burden of disease in developing countries.

“Malnutrition, in all its forms, includes undernutrition (wasting, stunting, underweight), inadequate vitamins or minerals, overweight, obesity, and resulting in diet-related noncommunicable diseases.”

She further stated, “Globally in 2020, 149 million children under five were estimated to be stunted (too short for age), 45 million were estimated to be wasted (too thin for height), and 38.9 million were overweight or obese.NYSC portal

“Around 45 percent of deaths among children under five years of age are linked to undernutrition. These mostly occur in low- and middle-income countries.”

Noting that children who are malnourished would be stunted and underweight, she said:

“These are serious forms of malnutrition. It can affect the cognitive development of a child and the child will not be smart.

“Stunting is an enormous drain on economic productivity and growth.”

“Stunting is often intergenerational: Children who are stunted are also more likely as adults to have stunted children.

“A stunted child is also more prone to becoming overweight as an adult, posing more health risks”, Asouzu noted.

Currently, Asouzu revealed that Nigeria had the second highest burden of stunted children in the world, with a national prevalence rate of 32 per cent of children under five.

Asouzu called on mothers to avoid ultra-processed foods in the child’s diet and make conscious healthy choices.JAMB Result

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Idongesit Akpa-Ayang

Idongesit is a graduate of Communication Arts, University of Uyo. Currently working as a news reporter at InfoGuide Nigeria.

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