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Food supplements important to reduce child malnutrition

Posted:  Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Food experts suggest addition of highly nutritious foods and supplements to the diets of poor mothers, are crucial to lower child mortality and malnutrition. The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) advocates food fortification to tackle the growing epidemic of malnutrition in children belonging to the lower socio-economic strata in Africa and South Asia.

Hunger and poor nutrition among children are widespread across nations such as Africa, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. "Rather than trying to change the diet, adding micronutrients like vitamin A, zinc and iron gives children key nutrients that they need to grow and thrive," said GAIN's executive director Marc Van Ameringen. GAIN is building on existing mother and infant support programmes in India and Brazil to reach more people.

Statistically speaking, the United Nations has found that almost half the deaths among children under the age of five are caused by hunger and poor nutrition. Poor families tend to share one meal across the whole family, thus failing to meet the growing child’s nutritional requirements. To combat such dire issues, experts recommend breastfeeding as well as complementary foods for children.

Increasing nutrition awareness among mothers in a community remains a superior way to protect children from the trap of malnutrition.

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