Solutions to Nutrition-related Health Problems of Preschool Children: Education and Nutritional Policies for Children
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Darnton-Hill, I and Kennedy, E and Gogill, B and Hossain, SM, Solutions to Nutrition-related Health Problems of Preschool Children: Education and Nutritional Policies for Children, Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 43, (Supplement 3) pp. S54-S65. ISSN 0277-2116 (2006) [Refereed Article]
OBJECTIVE: By reviewing the literature, lessons learned and experience regarding the nutrition-related health problems of preschool children, draw conclusions and make recommendations on education and nutrition policies for young children. RESULTS: The most common causes of under-5 mortality in low-income countries have been identified as neonatal disorders, diarrhoea, respiratory infections, malaria, measles, and in some developing countries, AIDS. More than half (56%) of all child deaths have underlying malnutrition and undernutrition as a contributing factor. Children must have optimal growth and physical and intellectual development to learn and achieve their potential in society. Solutions include both preventive and curative interventions at all levels and include both improved health and education systems. Recent focus has been on health systems interventions that address averting deaths by cause for the 42 countries that account for 90% of worldwide under-5 deaths (the majority in sub-Saharan Africa). However, parallel or multisectoral interventions must be addressed to all children at risk for death, poor health and compromised growth and development. Adequate health care and nutrition is a human right, legally established in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. CONCLUSIONS: Improved health and nutrition will lead to enhanced economic development, but having a poverty focus appears to be essential, if poor people are not to be marginalized further. The HIV/AIDS pandemic illustrates this challenge clearly. The role of education, especially girls' education, in improved health and nutrition status of children and birth-spacing is now clear, as is improving women's status. Increases in female status and education have been estimated to account for half of the reduction in child malnutrition rates during the past 25 years. © 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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