(By Gracia Obi)
UNICEF has said that remarkable progress has been made in the fight against stunted growth on the hidden face of poverty for 165 million children under the age of five.
According to the agency, stunting in a child is not only about being too short for his or her age, but it means suffering from stunted development of the brain and cognitive capacity.
“Stunting can kill opportunities in life for a child and kill opportunities for development of a nation,” said UNICEF’s Executive Director, Anthony Lake, stressing that “globally, one in four of all children under five is stunted.”
Lake attributed stunting to chronic under-nutrition in crucial periods of growth, revealing that an estimated 80 per cent of the world’s stunted children lived in 14 countries.
He explained that the damage done to a child’s body and brain by stunting “is irreversible, as it drags down performance at school and future earnings,” adding: “it is an injustice often passed from generation to generation that cuts away at national development”.
UNICEF’s media affairs officer, Samuel Kaalu, said in the progress report statement that stunted children were more at a higher risk of dying from infectious diseases than other children.