We ought to fight manifestation of children’s under nutrition

26Oct 2018
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
We ought to fight manifestation of children’s under nutrition

STUNTED growth, also known as stunting and nutritional stunting, is a reduced growth rate in human development.

It is a primary manifestation of malnutrition (or more precisely undernutrition) and recurrent infections, such as diarrhea and helminthiasis, in early childhood and even before birth, due to malnutrition during fetal development brought on by a malnourished mother. The definition of stunting according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) is for the "height for age" value to be less than two standard deviations of the WHO Child Growth Standards median.

As of 2012 an estimated 162 million children under 5 years of age, or 25 per cent, were stunted in 2012. More than 90 per cent of the world's stunted children live in Africa and Asia, where respectively 36 per cent and 56 per cent of children are affected. Once established, stunting and its effects typically become permanent. Stunted children may never regain the height lost as a result of stunting, and most children will never gain the corresponding body weight. Living in an environment where many people defecate in the open due to lack of sanitation, is an important cause of stunted growth in children, for example in India.

The causes for stunting are principally very similar if not the same as the causes for malnutrition in children. Most stunting happens during the 1,000-day period that spans from conception to a child's second birthday.[citation needed] The three main causes of stunting in South Asia, and probably in most developing countries, are poor feeding practices, poor maternal nutrition, and poor sanitation.


The causes of stunted growth include inadequate complementary child feeding and a general lack of vital nutrients beside pure caloric intake is one cause for stunted growth. Children need to be fed diets which meet the minimum requirements in terms of frequency and diversity in order to prevent undernutrition.


Poor maternal nutrition during pregnancy and breastfeeding can lead to stunted growth of their children. Women who are underweight or anemic during pregnancy, are more likely to have stunted children which perpetuates the inter-generational transmission of stunting. Children born with low birth weight are  more at risk of stunting.


Un the same vein, Tanzania loses $289 million (over 600 billion/-) annually on the treatment of health problems caused by poor nutrition, according to a recent report,    amid calls for the promotion of easily accessible and affordable nutritious food varieties.

The Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey report for 2015–2016, says one in three children aged under five in Tanzania are stunted due to a chronic lack of essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, which are needed for growth and development.

Agricultural Non-State Actors Forum (ANSAF) executive secretary Audax Rukonge disclosed it at a smallholder farmers workshop on how to improve popular varieties of food crops like sweet potato and cassava, held in Dar es Salaam.

According to Rukonge, the promotion of unpatented crop varieties that are rich in nutrients such as orange-fleshed sweet potatoes is very important to end the problems of stunted children’s growth in the country.

This, he said, is due to the fact that it is a cost-effective approach that does not need high agricultural knowledge to make it work.



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