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Home » Japan UNICEF Association One in four children around the world suffers from severe food poverty – UNICEF new report raises alarm Press Release

Japan UNICEF Association One in four children around the world suffers from severe food poverty – UNICEF new report raises alarm Press Release

Japan Committee for UNICEF
One in four children around the world suffers from severe food poverty – UNICEF new report warns [Press Release]
[Image 1:×1024.jpg] Seven-month-old Fahia and her mother flee to an internally displaced person camp after being affected by drought and floods. Due to severe acute malnutrition, the patient is being treated with ready-to-eat therapeutic food (RUTF). (Somalia, taken in January 2024) (C) UNICEF_UNI534995_Hill
[June 6, 2024 from New York]
Approximately 181 million people, one in four children under the age of five worldwide, live in severe food poverty, and these children are at risk of wasting, one of the most deadly symptoms of malnutrition. UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) has revealed in a new report released today that children are up to 50% more likely to suffer from cancer.
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The report, Child Food Poverty: Nutrition Deprivation in Early Childhood, covers a wide range of income groups in approximately 100 countries, and examines what is happening to young children around the world. This is the first analysis of the effects and causes of dietary deficiencies. The report finds that millions of children under the age of five are not getting the nutritious and diverse food groups they need to sustain healthy development in early childhood and beyond. It’s ringing the alarm.
Children who consume at most two of the eight defined food groups are considered to be in severe child food poverty. Four out of five children with this condition are fed only breast milk or formula and/or starchy staple foods such as rice, corn and wheat. Less than 10% of children are fed fruits and vegetables. Also, less than 5% are fed nutritious foods such as eggs, fish, chicken, and other meats.
[Image 2:×1024.jpg] Children enjoy nutritious meals in a child-friendly environment. (Burkina Faso, taken in December 2023) (C) UNICEF_UNI486243_Dejongh Catherine Russell, UNICEF Executive Director, said: “Children living in severe food poverty are at the brink of death. Millions of young children are currently living in such conditions, and their survival, growth, and brain development are irreversible. “Children who consume just two food groups a day, such as rice and milk, are up to 50% more likely to be severely malnourished.”
The report finds that while countries are still recovering from the socio-economic impact of COVID-19, food prices and the cost of living are reaching record highs due to rising inequality, conflict and the effects of the climate crisis. , is sounding the alarm.
Sixty-five percent of the 181 million children living in severe food poverty are concentrated in just 20 countries. Regionally,
approximately 64 million children live in South Asia and 59 million in sub-Saharan Africa.
In Somalia, a country plagued by conflict, drought and floods, 63% of children live in severe food poverty, and in the most vulnerable communities, more than 80% of caregivers do not know how much their children spend in their care on a full day. also reported that they were unable to eat food.
Months of fighting and limited humanitarian access in the Gaza Strip have disrupted food and health systems, with devastating consequences for children and families. Five surveys conducted between December 2023 and April 2024 found that 9 out of 10 children in the Gaza Strip are barely surviving on a diet containing two or fewer food groups a day. , consistently found to be suffering from severe food poverty. This is a testament to the dire situation in which fighting and limited aid are preventing families from giving their children the meals they need, putting them at risk of fatal malnutrition. is showing.
[Image 3:×1111.jpg] A brother and sister take shelter in a temporary shelter in Rafah. Their father died in the conflict, and their eldest daughter Tasnim (second from the left), 18, takes care of her younger brothers, but food and water are hard to come by. (Gaza Strip, taken in April 2024) (C) UNICEF_UNI565092_Eliean
According to the report, approximately half (46%) of children living in severe food poverty come from poor households, with income poverty considered the main cause of food poverty, while 97 million children (54%) live in severe food poverty. ) are children from relatively economically affluent households, and poor quality food environments and feeding habits are the main causes of food poverty in early childhood.
Several factors affect children’s diets, including food systems that fail to provide nutritious, safe and accessible food for children, families who cannot afford nutritious food, and parents who are unable to adopt and sustain desirable dietary habits for their children. This is exacerbating the poverty crisis in the world. In many situations, marketing ads for cheap, nutritionally poor, unhealthy ultra-processed foods and sugary drinks have become the new normal for fascinated parents and families to feed them to their children. I am. These unhealthy food and beverage consumption behaviors are at alarmingly high rates among children living in food poverty, who replace more nutritious and healthier foods in their daily diets. It is now possible to do so.
On the other hand, there are notable success stories regarding severe child food poverty. For example, in Burkina Faso, the severe child food poverty rate was halved from 67% (2010) to 32% (2021). In Nepal, it decreased from 20% (2011) to 8% (2022), and in Rwanda, from 20% (2010) to 12% (2020). Despite a long period of economic stagnation, Peru has continued to keep its severe child food poverty rate below 5% since 2014.
To end child food poverty, UNICEF calls on governments, development and humanitarian organizations, donors, civil society, and the food and drink industry to urgently:
Transform food systems to ensure that nutritious, diverse and healthy foods are the most accessible, affordable and desirable choices for caregivers when choosing what to feed their infants and young children.
Leverage health systems to provide essential nutritional support to prevent and treat malnutrition in early childhood. This includes support for community health and nutrition staff who advise parents and families on what to feed and provide appropriate care for children.
Activate social protection systems to tackle income poverty through social transfers such as cash, food and vouchers, addressing the food and nutrition needs of vulnerable children and their families. To accelerate work to prevent, identify and treat severe child food poverty and malnutrition, UNICEF last year partnered with the UK Department for Foreign Affairs and International Development (FCDO), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF). ), we launched the Child Nutrition Fund (CNF). CNF is a multi-partner financing mechanism led by UNICEF that mobilizes domestic investment to end child malnutrition. UNICEF urges
governments and partners to support CNF and prioritize sustainable policies and actions to end severe child food poverty and
Food poverty among children is classified as follows based on the number of food groups they can consume in a day.
Food groups 0-2: severe food poverty
Food groups 3-4: moderate food poverty
5 or more food groups: Not considered food poverty
Wasting: A condition resulting from acute or severe malnutrition in which a person is not getting enough calories and is at imminent risk of death. Children with wasting are severely thin, have weakened immune systems, and require urgent medical care.
Dietary diversity: Refers to consuming a variety of food groups during the day. For healthy development, children need to consume at least five of the following eight food groups: The eight food groups are: 1. Breast milk 2. Grains, roots, and tubers 3. Beans, nuts, and seeds 4. Dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese) 5. Meat (meat, fish, poultry, liver, etc.) 6. Eggs 7. Fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin A (carrots, mangoes, dark green leafy vegetables, pumpkins, oranges, sweet potatoes) 8. Other fruits and vegetables.
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■ About UNICEF
UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) is a United Nations agency that works to promote the rights and healthy development of all children. We are currently working with many partners in approximately 190 countries and regions* to translate our philosophy into concrete actions in a variety of ways. We work for all children, everywhere in the world, with a particular focus on supporting those most in need. UNICEF’s activities are funded entirely by donations from individuals, companies, and organizations, as well as voluntary contributions from governments around the world.
*Includes 33 countries and regions where UNICEF National Committees (UNICEF Association) are active
■ About Japan UNICEF Association
The Japan Committee for UNICEF, a public interest incorporated foundation, is one of the UNICEF national committees in 33 developed countries and regions, and is the only private organization in Japan that represents UNICEF. ).
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