Malnutrition In Women & Children“Close to a billion people – one-eighth of the world’s population – still live in hunger. Each year 2 million children die through malnutrition. This is happening at a time when doctors . . . are warning of the spread of obesity. We are eating too much while others starve.”


The World Food Programme (WFP) considers combating malnutrition as “not only a provision for providing food, but also making sure that food provided is nutritional. “ Recently a study showed that hunger kills more than epidemic diseases such as Tuberculosis, malaria or even AIDS. When the WFP sends food supplies, it ensures that necessary nutritional ingredients in foods are met considering the maternal needs, and fulfilling the juvenile health, growth and development. With the increase in deaths due to hunger, WFP has increased its efforts to focus on combating hunger specifically on Women and children, they are the most vulnerable to malnutrition. Proper nutrition in women contributes towards the maternal health and in turn affects their abilities to take care of their children, while growth and development of a child is equally important. The growth and development in a child’s body can be compromised with irregular intake in diet directly affecting the health, making the child vulnerable towards harmful diseases. WFP describes this scenario as stunting. A study showed that one out of every four children suffers from the ill effects of stunted growth, surprisingly 80% of these children are found in less than 10 nations. This negative stunted growth then affects the metabolism of the child as he/she grows, depleting the immunity to fight against diseases, and leading to poor or no participation in educational activities. This then leads to impoverished employment or unemployment.

Physical and mental health is absolute necessary for pregnant women and those women with infants as suitable growth in the child comes from a healthy mother. United Nations has always been active in combating malnutrition. Combating malnutrition is a part of achieving United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Malnutrition consumes almost one third of all the death among children under the age of five.


WFP believes that malnourishment in children and women are caused by a variety of different reasons. The main reasons behind the deaths are inadequate or unbalanced diets. Food insecurity plays a vital role as inaccessibility and varying quantities of food items within the main food groups can lead insufficient nutrition. Food prices and agricultural activity (or lack thereof) contribute significantly to malnourishment as well. When prices are volatile in poor communities, local currencies inflate and deflate sporadically causing the market to function inappropriately. Furthermore, the food becomes more insecure.


The WFP in company with other NGOs has founded innovative approaches in using micronutrients to promote nourishment in children and women. This proves the synergetic realities between NGOs and IGOs. But innovation is not finished. The WFPs task and mandate will remain incomplete until malnourishment, a solvable problem, is totally eradicated in all populations, especially women and children.

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 Anant MishraAnant Mishra is former youth representative United Nations. Almost 4 years, he has served in number of committees including United Nations Conference for Trade and Development and United Nations General Assembly primarily focusing on international trade, middle east crisis, education, finance, economics. He can be reached on [email protected]
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