One in four children malnourished worldwide — a health impact as big as AIDS

Child malnutrition has an impact equivalent to that of the AIDS pandemic, one writer says, commenting on a new report from Save the Children which says hunger and malnutrition cause 2.6 million children deaths every year.

As the BBC reports, this is not due to lack of food but to rising food prices, nor is it limited to poor countries:

The charity says that children under two are most in need of help because the body and brain are developing fast at that age. Prolonged malnutrition for these children can irreversibly stunt their growth and reduce their IQ by as much as 15 points.

India is home to a third of the world’s malnourished children. Some 43% of them suffer from malnutrition and three out of four are anaemic.

Malnutrition doesn’t just kill, of course. Save the Children estimates lack of food and a proper diet also cause physical and mental disabilities for hundreds of millions of children who survive on poor diets.

Here’s a video about India’s massive child malnutrition problem from Al Jazeera:

Other news stories based on the Save the Children report:

AP 1 in 4 children malnourished

Guardian New report says 2.6 million children malnourished

Independent Business Times 300 million children die every hour due to malnutrition

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Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at]humanosphere.org or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.