Progress Slow in Addressing Child Malnutrition in Developing Countries

By Sean Cavanagh — May 09, 2006 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

More than one-quarter of all children younger than 5 living in the world’s developing countries are underweight, a major sign of malnutrition and susceptibility to disease, a new report finds.

“Progress for Children: A Report Card on Nutrition” is posted by UNICEF.

UNICEF has also posted further information from the report, such as an interactive map, photo essay, and a video (High or Low bandwidth version) on nutrition and children. (RealPlayer required for viewing).

The study released last week by unicef says that the percentage of such children has fallen from 33 percent to 28 percent since 1990. But that progress is insufficient to address what amounts to an epidemic, it concludes, and not rapid enough to meet the United Nations’ goal of halving the proportion of children who are underweight by 2015.

Poor nutrition contributes to more than half the deaths of children younger than 5 each year, or about 5.6 million worldwide.

“Progress for Children: A Report Card on Nutrition” found that 75 percent of those underweight children are concentrated in 10 countries. The South Asian region had the highest percentage, at 46 percent. Three nations there—Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan—account for half of all the world’s underweight children. Forty-seven percent of India’s children younger than 5 are underweight. Only 2 percent of children in the United States, by contrast, weigh too little, according to the report.

Two regions—Latin America and the Caribbean and East Asia and the Pacific—are meeting unicef targets for reducing the percentage of underweight children. China, in particular, has reduced its proportion by an average of almost 7 percent a year, exceeding the agency’s goals of 2.6 percent. Unicef’s analysis is based on information collected from 190 U.N. member countries.

The New York City-based unicef works in 155 countries to improve health, education, and economic opportunities for children.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the May 10, 2006 edition of Education Week as Progress Slow in Addressing Child Malnutrition in Developing Countries


School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Get a Strong Start to the New School Year
Get insights and actions from Education Week journalists and expert guests on how to start the new school year on strong footing.
Reading & Literacy Webinar A Roadmap to Multisensory Early Literacy Instruction: Accelerate Growth for All Students 
How can you develop key literacy skills with a diverse range of learners? Explore best practices and tips to meet the needs of all students. 
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
College & Workforce Readiness Webinar
Supporting 21st Century Skills with a Whole-Child Focus
What skills do students need to succeed in the 21st century? Explore the latest strategies to best prepare students for college, career, and life.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

International Q&A 'Tell American Students to Be Grateful': What Ukrainian Refugees Told AFT's President
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten traveled to Poland to meet with Ukrainian students and teachers.
4 min read
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten passes out books to Ukrainian refugees at a makeshift school in a hostel in Warsaw, Poland, on April 4, 2022.
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten passes out books to Ukrainian refugees at a makeshift school in a hostel in Warsaw, Poland, on April 4.
Courtesy of Asher Huey
International What the Research Says How Nations Can Repair Pandemic Damage to Students' Well-Being, Trust in Government
International data suggest the pandemic has marginalized young people in many countries.
3 min read
Image of high school students working together in a school setting.
International What the Research Says Schooling in a Pandemic: How Other Countries Are Doing It
A new study highlights how instruction in 11 countries has changed following pandemic closures and outbreaks.
3 min read
Children attend a lesson in a school in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin has lifted the restrictions on schools in Russia's capital, students of all grades will to return for face-to-face education after months studying remotely.
Children attend a lesson in a school in Moscow last January. Russian schools had relatively shorter periods of academic disruptions than other countries, a new study finds.
Pavel Golovkin/AP
International Opinion Why Other Countries Keep Outperforming Us in Education (and How to Catch Up)
Money from the American Rescue Plan could be our last chance to build the school system we need, writes Marc Tucker.
Marc Tucker
5 min read
A student climbs stacks of books to reach the top
Tatyana Pivovarova/iStock/Getty Images Plus