New UNICEF report reveals severe food poverty for children amid world crises – Global Issues

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The report warned that millions of children under five are struggling to access nutritious and varied diets needed for developmental growth and that food prices and the cost of living have reached record highs as countries continue to recover from the impact of the crisis. COVID-19 pandemic.

UNICEF Nutrition specialist Harriet Torlesse – who was also lead author of the report – said one in four children worldwide survive on extremely poor diets, consuming only two or fewer of the major food groups.

“So for a child in Afghanistan, for example that’s just some bread or maybe a milk for the whole dayand almost certainly no fruits and vegetables and no good sources of protein,” she said UN news before launch. “And this is very disturbing because these children cannot survive with such poor nutrition.”

Millions of people affected worldwide

The report shows that 65 percent of the 181 million children worldwide living in child food poverty live in 20 countries – about 64 million in South Asia and 59 million in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In fact, almost half of all cases are linked to households where income poverty is prominent.

However, there are many other factors fueling this crisis, including “food systems that fail to provide children with nutritious, safe, and accessible options, the inability of families to afford nutritious food, and the inability of parents to promote positive feeding practices for children to adopt and maintain.”

‘Horrible impact’ of the Gaza conflict

More than half of Somalia’s children experience child food poverty amid conflict and natural disasters.

Similarly, in Gaza, nine in ten children face high levels of food poverty as fighting continues.

“This is evidence of the horrific impact that conflict and restrictions are having on families’ ability to meet children’s food needs – and the rate at which children are at risk of life-threatening malnutrition,” the report said.

However, the report noted that other countries facing their own crises, such as Burkina Faso, have significantly reduced their levels of child food poverty. Burkina Faso has halved the number of cases there.

“It shows that with the right kind of action, countries can make progress, including low-income countries,” Ms Torlesse said. “(These countries) have all made a deliberate effort to improve the supply of local nutritious food, whether it be legumes, vegetables or poultry.”

Call to governments

UNICEF called for action to make nutritious food more accessible to young children, activate social protection systems to address income poverty, and leverage health care systems to deliver essential nutrition services to help children.

“UNICEF calls on all of the Government’s development and humanitarian partners to act now and prioritize actions to end food poverty among children,” Ms Torlesse said. “We must position the eradication of child food poverty as a policy priority, especially to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of malnutrition.”

She said it is also important that healthcare systems are strengthened so they can advise and support families on how to feed their children.

“There is no reason why children should have to grow up in child food poverty,” Ms Torlesse said. “Not when we know the consequences for children’s ability to grow and thrive, and especially not when we have the solutions and know what works.”

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