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Five surprising facts about starvation that could change the international agenda

g in marginalized vulnerable groups." Wasting is a complex condition that is not simply caused by conflict or famine alone. Gross and Webb conclude that "effective, targeted actions are needed as part of the development agenda."

Third, HIV does not appear yet to contribute substantially and directly to severe wasting in children, although the authors state that "as the pandemic progresses, high HIV/AIDS rates will contribute to worsening nutrition, both from the direct effects of the disease and from an indirect impact on household food security and childcare. Without dual action against wasting and HIV/AIDS, the deadly synergy of these two factors is likely to grow in coming years."

Fourth, political and economic growth do not always automatically improve child nutrition. According to the authors, "wealth creation at a national level does not preclude the persistence of wasting on a large scale." For example, the United Arab Emirates, a wealthy country, has a wasting rate of 14%. "Similarly," state the authors, "both India and Brazil have shown remarkable rates of economic growth without proportional gains in the nutritional status of poorer people in their society."

Finally, Gross and Webb state that the development agenda must tackle child wasting in order to make a lasting impact on human well- being. "The problem of wasting needs to be addressed wherever it is identified, not just in emergencies," says Webb. "Wasting in emergencies represents the tip of the iceberg," write the authors.

"Ironically, the international community has become much more adept at saving the lives of wasted children in the context of catastrophes than in the context of typical development," state the authors.

The authors give several examples of development that will reduce the chronic undernutrition that results in wasting of children. These include improving nutrition in pregnant and lactating women to prevent low-birthweight babies, effecti
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Source:Tufts University


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