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More than one in four kindergarten children live with severe food poverty

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The war between Israel’s military and Hamas is highlighted by Unicef ​​as having “caused the food and health system to collapse”. The picture taken on 13 May shows displaced Palestinian children in the Deir al Balah camp in the Gaza Strip. Photo: Abdel Kareem Hana / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 06.06.2024 07:33:06

Medicine and health: – Severe food poverty among children means children who survive on a very poor diet, and only consume two or fewer food groups, says Harriet Torlesse, lead author of a new Unicef ​​report.

According to Unicef, 440 million children under the age of five live in food poverty, spread over approximately 100 low- and middle-income countries. Of these, 181 million experience severe food poverty.

– Children who only consume two food groups per day, for example rice and some milk, have up to a 50 per cent higher risk of experiencing severe forms of malnutrition, says Unicef ​​CEO Catherine Russell.

Severe malnutrition can lead to wasting, a condition that can be fatal. Even if the children survive, they are likely to be unhappy and do worse at school, which makes it more difficult to earn a livable income as adults, explains Torlesse.

Unicef ​​is calling for better social services and humanitarian aid for the most vulnerable children. The report also emphasizes the need to rethink the global food system and points out that sugary drinks and ultra-processed foods are being marketed towards families as the new normal for children’s diets.

(© NTB)

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