Many people in a large number of low and middle income countries now experience a 'double burden' of malnutrition.
Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) poor South Africans enjoy a better standard of living compared to their counterparts in many other countries.
The latest figures released by Statistics South Africa puts the country's extreme poverty line at R26 a day per person.
This is almost double the international line for extreme poverty, at about R14 per day. Lack of proper housing, malnutrition and hunger are some of the characteristics of poverty.
According to the deputy minister for Women's Affairs and Social Welfare, Virgilio Mateus, chronic malnutrition affects 43 percent of Mozambican children under the age of five.
Speaking at the launch of a report by the United Nations Children's Fund, Mateus says the figure is an improvement from 2013, where 48 percent of all children under five were suffering from chronic malnutrition.
African leaders and development officials say that poorly-fed children rob Africa of up to 16 percent of its potential growth, making investment in programmes to end malnutrition as critical to the continent's future as building bridges and roads.
According to World Bank and United Nations reports, almost half all child deaths in Africa are caused by inadequate food and it is the underlying cause of many diseases, yet approaches to tackling health and child nutrition are disjointed and uncoordinated, limiting their impact.
On 30 October 2015, civil society organisations (CSO) and government leaders across the continent will recognise the 6th African Day on Food and Nutrition Security. It will be an opportunity to focus attention on political and financial commitments made by Africa leaders at all levels to address contemporary challenges of food and nutrition insecurity in Africa.
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The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) says that desert-hardy Namibians, overwhelmed by the worst drought to hit their country in 30 years, are surviving off wild fruits with no harvest in sight until March 2014.
IFRC’s Hanna Butler, who recently visited Kunene, one of the worst hit regions in northern Namibia, points out that, "A lot of the people I met had nothing in their food stores, absolutely nothing."
The Centre for International Research on Forests (CIFOR) says that malnutrition could be greatly reduced and food security improved by ensuring improved access to nutrient-rich forest-derived foods like berries, bushmeat, roots, insects and nuts for the world's poorest populations.
CIFOR’s nutritionist and researcher, Bronwen Powell, points out that, "I believe forest foods are particularly important for reducing malnutrition when it comes to micronutrients such as vitamin A and iron."
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says that child malnutrition would decrease by 25 percent if babies were fed only breast milk in the first six months.
Speaking at the launch of Save the Children’s report, ‘A life free of hunger: Tackling Child Nutrition’, UNICEF nutrition specialist, Chantell Witten, said that about 70 percent of babies are being fed solids at two months old.
Save the Children has warned that half-a-billion children will be stunted over the next 15 years, if child malnutrition is tackled head-on.
Save the Children’s regional health and HIV advisor, David Sanders, points out that, “The rising of food prices is the main cause of malnutrition.”
Sanders maintains that the government must prioritise nutrition and outline the clear lines of responsibility.