South Africa: Poor Diets Are Damaging Children's Health, Unicef Warns

analysis

The development of children is under threat and far too many are not growing well due to a rise in consumption of unhealthy foods, UNICEF warns in a new report on children, food, and nutrition.

A Unicef report finds that an alarmingly high number of children under the age of five are suffering from the physical consequences of poor diets and a food system that is failing them.

Children who are struggling to grow are victims of the triple burden of malnutrition: undernutrition, hidden hunger, and being overweight.

At least one in three children worldwide under five (or 200 million) is either undernourished or overweight. Almost two in three children between six months and two years of age are not fed food that supports their rapidly growing bodies and brains. This puts them at risk of poor brain development, weak learning, low immunity, increased infections and, in many cases, death. A child in Mvouti, a town in the Kouilou Region of southern Republic of Congo. (Photo: UNICEF)

Furthermore, at least one in two children suffers from hidden hunger due to deficiencies - often not visible - in vitamins and essential nutrients which can hamper survival, growth, and development at every...

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