Corona Pandemic And Malnourishment In Children

In the wake of the global corona crisis, the food supply has suffered, especially in poorer countries. A study is now estimating the consequences of this

As a result of the corona pandemic, three billion people could find themselves in the situation of not being able to afford adequate and healthy nutrition . This is the result of a computer modeling study – at least if the most pessimistic scenario outlined in it occurs.

A research group led by nutritionist Saskia Osendarp from the Dutch University of Wageningen describes in the analysis now published in the journal ” Nature Food ” the far-reaching, short-term and long-term consequences of the pandemic, especially for the nutrition of mothers and children in low and medium-sized countries Has per capita income.

In order to be able to estimate and predict the impact of the pandemic-related economic and supply crisis , Osendarp and colleagues used data and modeling methods with which the effects on certain nutritional indicators in the period 2020 to 2022 can be estimated – in each case in an optimistic, moderate or pessimistic scenario .

Investing in nutrition programs must be a priority
According to the moderate estimate, there will be around 9.3 million more children in 2022 than before the start of the pandemic who are too light for their size (optimistic: 1.5 million, pessimistic 3.6 million) and 2.6 million children who are too are easy for their age (optimistic: 6.4 million, pessimistic: 13.6 million).

In addition, the pandemic caused 165,000 additional deaths in childhood (optimistic: 47,000, pessimistic: 283,000), 2.1 million additional cases of maternal anemia (optimistic: 1 million, pessimistic: 4.8 million) and 2.1 million In addition, children will be born to malnourished mothers (optimistic: 1.4 million, pessimistic: 3 million).

To these effects counteract , for instance by investing more in nutrition programs, up to 1.7 billion US dollars in additional annual investments are needed, the researchers write. They fear that under the current pandemic conditions dominated by more aggressive and contagious virus variants such as Delta, the pessimistic scenario of their analysis could possibly be the most realistic.

A large number of interventions are necessary and they have to be implemented by governments as a matter of priority in order to be able to prevent the deterioration of the global food situation.

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