Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Undernutrition among under Five children


 

Undernutrition and food insecurity are critical problems among under-five children in many developing countries. Acute malnutrition among children at the globe level is still a critical problem; its effects are long lasting and go beyond childhood; it has both short and long term consequences. The first 1,000 days of a child's life offer a unique window of opportunity for preventing undernutrition. The nutritional status of under five children is a sensitive indicator of a country`s health status as well as economic condition. Undernutrition generates economic losses associated with impaired brain development, poor school performance, and impaired productivity.
     Undernutrition is usually the result of a combination of inadequate dietary intake, poor access to food, inequitable distribution of food within the household,  improper food preparation and storage methods, dietary taboos and infections with pathogens. It is a third most risk factor for death of under-five children in the world. It occurs when a child does not have enough to eat and the second is when a child develops an illness or infection. In most cases, these factors combined to cause a rapid and significant loss of weight and - if things deteriorate and the child is not treated – death occurs.
    An estimated 2 million children in Nigeria suffer from severe acute malnutrition (SAM), with her being the second highest burden of stunted children in the world, having a national prevalence rate of 32 percent of children under five. Prevalence of under-nutrition is assessed by weight for age, height for age, BMI for age, and wasting (weight for height irrespective of age). Of these, weight for age is the most widely used indicator for assessment of nutritional status because of ease of measurement. Children can be under-weight because they are stunted, or wasted or stunted and wasted.

Ways of preventing and control undernutrition

1.  Encourage exclusive breast feeding of infants for first 4 to 6 months

2. Additional nutritive supplements introduce from 6 months of age

3. Offer as much milk, egg, fish, meat or food of high biological value that the family can afford

4. Provision of good health care system that provides immunization, oral rehydration, periodic deworming, early diagnosis and proper treatment of common illnesses.

5. Improved water supply, sanitation and hygiene

6. Health education to mothers about good nutrition and hygiene for a healthy diet










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