Around 66% children below 2 years don’t get nutritious diet: UNICEF 

What is the news? 

As per the report “Fed to Fail? The Crisis of Children’s Diets in Early Life” published by UNICEF, two in every three children between six months and two years didn’t get the nutritious diet needed for healthy growth. 

Policies and programmes to improve young children’s diets are not prioritised and are being further eroded by the COVID-19 pandemic. No country has a comprehensive set of policies, legal measures and programmes to improve young children’s diets.  

What are the findings of the report? 

First, around 27% of children aged six-eight months were not fed any solid food.  

Second, among children aged 6–23 months, around half were not fed the minimum number of meals or snacks.  

Third, overall, the diet of the world’s children below the age of two years has not improved in the last decade. 

Fourth, the quality of children’s diets varies widely among regions. As many as 62 per cent of children aged 6–23 months in Latin America and the Caribbean were fed a minimally diverse diet in 2020. In South Asia and two sub-Saharan African regions, the share was less than 25 per cent. 

Fifth, children in rural areas, poorer households and disadvantaged regions within countries have the least diverse diets. 

Sixth, around one in every three young children in Australia, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Serbia and Sudan were fed at least one processed or ultra-processed food or drink daily. 

Seventh, nearly 83% countries reported considerable disruptions in the coverage of services to promote nutritious and safe diets for young children during 1st wave of COVID-19. 

What are the various recommendations of the report? 

To deliver a nutritious, safe and affordable diet to every child, the report recommended the following actions: 

First, increasing the availability and affordability of nutritious foods.  

Second, implementing national standards and legislation to protect young children from unhealthy processed food and drink. 

Third, ending harmful marketing practices targeting children and families. 

Fourth, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Gambia, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Nepal, Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste, have recorded significant improvements in the quality of young diets of this age group over the last 10 years. 

Source: This post is based on the article “Around 66% children below 2 years don’t get nutritious diet: UNICEF ” published in the Down to Earth on 23th September 2021. 

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