A July 13th article in NY Times highlights the emerging evidence suggesting that many of the world's 162 million children under age 5 who are malnourished are suffering less a lack of food than poor sanitation.
The report goes as far as to say “The disconnect between wealth and malnutrition is so striking that economists have concluded that economic growth does almost nothing to reduce malnutrition”.
Realization about the connection between stunting and sanitation is just emerging,” Two years ago, Unicef, the WHO and World Bank released a report on child malnutrition that focused entirely on a lack of food. Sanitation was not mentioned. Now, Unicef and those other major charitable organizations have said that poor sanitation may cause more than half of the world’s stunting problems.
These children’s bodies divert energy and nutrients away from growth and brain development to prioritize infection-fighting survival,” said Jean Humphrey, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “When this happens during the first two years of life, children become stunted. What’s particularly disturbing is that the lost height and intelligence are permanent.”
The NY Times article can be found at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/15/world/asia/poor-sanitation-in-india-may-afflict-well-fed-children-with-malnutrition.html?_r=0