One in ten kids face food poverty: UN

One in ten kids face food poverty: UN

Survey shows issues with infant nutrition

One in ten kids face food poverty: UN

One in ten Thai children under five years old experience severe food poverty, while globally, one in four kids face similar struggles, according to a new report from the United Nations Children’s Fund ( Unicef ).

The document titled” The Child Food Hardship: Nutrition Deprivation in First Childhood” analysed the effects and reasons of diet deprivation among children in nearly 100 countries.

” Bad diets can have profound effects on children’s physical and mental health”, said Kyungsun Kim, Unicef Representative for Thailand. Eating healthy food and receiving adequate nutrition are necessary for their well-being and are a fundamental right that are necessary for their survival and growth.

Out of 440 million children international under five years of age, about 181 million are experiencing extreme baby food poverty according to disparity, fight, and weather crises. The report also noted that 65 % of these children reside in 20 countries such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines and South Africa.

Children living in extreme food poverty are those who are fed no more than two meals groups per day, while the lowest dietary should be at least five out of the eight defined food groups, which are breastmilk, eggs, dairy products, grains, flesh foods like meat, vitamin A- wealthy fruits and vegetables, and various fruits and vegetables.

The report also found that about 84 million children ( or 46 % ) of the 181 million kids living in severe child food poverty belong to poor families, and about 97 million children ( or 54 % ) belong to non- poor families.

This suggests that baby food hunger is not the only factor in home income. The option to consume unhealthy foods and beverages is another factor.

According to Unicef, Thailand’s nationwide survey also indicated worries about infant feeding. Just 29 % of children are breastfed exclusively during the first six months, according to the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey conducted by the National Statistical Office and Unicef in 2022. The study also found that 13 % of children under five were stunted, and 7 % were thin due to prolonged poor nutrition.

Stunting and wasting are more prevalent in children from poor homes, children from non-Thai families, and those whose mothers have little or no training. At the same time, obesity in young children in the kingdom is on the rise, with 11 % of children under five obese in 2022, up from 9 % in 2019. Consuming food and beverages with higher glucose and fat content is the main reason.

According to Unicef, a number of factors are contributing to the child food poverty crisis, including food systems that do n’t offer children nutritious, safe, and accessible options, families ‘ inability to buy nutritious foods, and parents ‘ inability to adopt and maintain effective child-feeding strategies.

Cheap, nutrient-dense, and bad ultra-processed foods and beverages are frequently aggressively promoted to parents and families and are now the norm when it comes to feeding kids.