Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Millennium Development Goals Update

Malnutrition Kills 10 Children Every Minute, Says UN
The Independent (UK)
May 3, 2006

Progress for Children Report
May 2006

This week, UNICEF published a progress report relating to the Millennium Development Goal of eradicating childhood hunger. Unfortunately, the report reveals a staggering number of children (146 million) suffer from malnutrition and related health conditions. Below are some of the many findings available in the UNICEF update:

- There is little difference between male and female children and the incidence of being underweight. (p. 8)
- Nearly half of the children in South Asia are underweight. However, these numbers may be inaccurate because only one in four children born in the region is weighed at birth. (pp. 12-13)
- Malaysia shows the fastest rate of improvement in children's health; the country reduced child poverty from 25% in 1990 to 11% in 2003. How did they do it? One practical step was to increase the intake of iodized salt. Iodized salt promotes thyroid function and helps regulate metabolism. (p. 20)
- In contrast, European children are at high risk for cardiovascular disease, hypertension, non-insulin-dependent diabetes, certain kinds of cancer, gall bladder disease, menstrual abnormalities, and arthritis due to obesity. In southern Europe, one in three children is overweight. (p. 26)

The report recommends increasing education for families about nutrition, improving access the clean water and sanitation, creating national action plans with appropriate budgets, and ensuring the delivery of important food items.

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