Malnutrition Essay

1793 words - 7 pages

Five million children die every year from malnutrition. Approximately one in eight people suffered from chronic undernourishment from 2010-2013 (“2013 World Hunger and Poverty Facts and Statistics). In Bangladesh, over half of the children under five years old are malnourished and prone to its devastating side-effects (“NEED TO KNOW- The silent epidemic of malnutrition”). Throughout history and in today’s society, malnutrition is one of the biggest causes of death annually, but Medical Teams International is working hard to reverse that trend.
Malnutrition affects people of all ages, but children suffer the most from this disease. According to the “2013 World Hunger and Poverty Facts and Statistics,” children that are malnourished have up to one-hundred and sixty days of illness every year. Shockingly, children under 2 are nine times more likely to die from a common illness that normally would not be lethal (“NEED TO KNOW- The silent epidemic of malnutrition”). According to Voice of America News, 50,000 children will die this year because of a famine in South Sudan. Additionally, another 250,000 will suffer from severe acute malnutrition. On PBS’s “NEED TO KNOW” documentary on malnutrition, the story of a young girl from Bangladesh who suffers from this severe form of malnutrition was told. When asked about the last time she had eaten, she replied she had not eaten a meal in three days. She told PBS that she often faints in class because she is too weak. Sometimes, she is not able to get out of bed and come to school. She also stated her younger brother died because of malnutrition. The biggest misconception about malnutrition is that its effects are restricted only to physical health. However, as seen through this young girl from Bangladesh, the effects of malnutrition can permeate all areas of life and cause devastating effects. Although malnutrition can affect all types of people equally, children are the most prone to its catastrophic effects.
Malnutrition is a serious problem and requires an immediate solution. The United States has placed itself at the forefront of this battle. However, the PBS documentary exposes the faults of what the United States gives to the malnourished. The United States sends a corn-soy based blend as relief for the malnourished, but this blend does nothing to improve their diets. The blend contains little to no nutrients that are essential for a healthy diet. It merely fills the stomach and gives the person a sense of fullness. A new product marketed for curing malnutrition is called “plumpy nut” and contains 20 essential nutrients. It has been shown to cure malnutrition in about four to six weeks and is considered by experts to be the best cure available. However, plumpy nut costs three times more than the corn-soy blend. The United States only exports foods that are grown within the US- foods that benefit the US economy, but plumpy nut is produced by a French company called Nutriset (Morrison). Dr. Susan...

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