The Cost of Malnutrition in Children

The BBC and Save the Children have recently reported on the effects of malnutrition among children, and the damaging long term effects it has on developing children with insufficient food intake.

Without enough food, developing children suffer in ways that greatly hinder their future life prospects. With malnourishment, children fail to fully develop in their formative years. Malnourished children are forced to have smaller, frailer bodies. This includes an underdeveloped brain. Consequently, these children do not excel at school, with stunted brain development and learning inhibitions.

The effects of malnutrition in developing children are irreversible. If a child’s growth is stunted, it will thereafter be impossible to reverse the damage done.

In the long term, this means that these children will likely have poorer life prospects compared to those who have grown up with a healthy and nutritious diet.

The cost of malnutrition is also economic. The article above suggests that malnourished children could earn up to 20 percent less as adults than what they could have with enough nutrition in their formative years. Furthermore, the global economic cost of malnutrition could be as high as 125 billion dollars.

There is theoretically enough food in the world to feed every living person today. If the issue of child malnourishment is addressed, not only will children themselves benefit, but the global economy itself will benefit by association.

For these reasons alone, it is crucial that children receive a sufficient amount of food to promote healthy growth. Ultimately, they will possess much greater potential within both their respective societies and their own lives.

William Mawhinney


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