6.7 Million More Children Under 5 Could Suffer From ‘Wasting’ in 2020 Due to COVID-19

Wasting is a life-threatening form of malnutrition on the rise because of food shortages.

Why SANDEF Should CareThe global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is putting children in low- and middle-income countries at risk of severe malnutrition, which can impact health — for example by making children more vulnerable to infectious diseases — and is associated with higher death rates. Everyone must have access to healthy, nutritious food if we’re going to achieve the UN’s Global Goals and end extreme poverty and its systemic causes.

An additional 6.7 million children under the age of five could suffer from ‘wasting’ — a form of acute malnutrition causing weakness, thinness, and an increased risk of death — in 2020 because of the economic fallout of COVID-19

A new analysis published in the Lancet medical journal looks at predicted poverty increases to assess the risk. It also considers the expected drop in the numbers of families accessing child health and nutrition services due to lockdowns and cuts.

The report concludes that wasting among children under five in low- and middle-income countries will increase by 14.3% this year. An estimated 80% of these cases would be in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia, with over half expected to be in south Asia alone, the research shows. 

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