According to the World Food Programme, malnutrition causes approximately 45% of deaths in children under five. That’s about 3 MM children who die from malnutrition a year.
Although the prevalence of malnutrition related diseases is much more pronounced in developing countries, people living in the poorest neighborhoods, the elderly, the homeless, and people with eating disorders in developed countries are also at risk.
One of the many diseases that results from inadequate consumption of food sources that provide them protein, energy, and other nutrients, is marasmus:
Marasmus negatively impacts children by causing them to have the following conditions:
- weakened immune systems, which makes them susceptible to other diseases
- stunted growth & mental development
- inability to absorb nutrients due to deterioration of intestinal lining
- dangerously underweight
- low energy
- respiratory conditions
- chronic diarrhea
- dehydration (due to diarrhea)
When caught early, marasmus and other diseases tied to malnutrition can be treated. Relief efforts by aid organizations such as World Food Programme, UNICEF and OXFAM International, have been extremely helpful in setting up programs, and distributing nutritional resources to families in need.
In South Sudan, where fighting had intensified earlier this year, many families were unable to obtain food they needed. For many kids, their only source of nutrition was school – the Straight Link Centre. Sometimes, the food is plentiful, and sometimes, it is not.
“When we were in hiding we ate only once every other day. One day we would eat rice, the next day we would just drink water and sleep,” she says.
The resource availability is based on the amount of donations obtained by the aide organization.