Malnutrition of Children Under Five Years Worsens, Says UNICEF


Kuni Tyessi in Abuja

Despite budgetary allocations towards tackling the menace of malnutrition and the constant on-going enlightenment on the need for proper nutrition in the early stages of a child’s life, the spate of malnutrition has continued to increase.

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) specialist on monitoring and evaluation, Ms. Maureen Zubie-Okolo revealed this in Enugu, during a two-day media dialogue on data-driven reporting.

The research is in collaboration with the National Bureau of Statistics in the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) 2017 in which 33,901 households and 2,239 enumeration areas across the 36 states of the federation and the FCT‎ were used.

While noting that health issues related to malnutrition can also do lifelong harm, she said the spate of malnutrition cuts across children who are too thin for their age, children who are too short for their age and children who are to thin for their height.

“Malnutrition among the children under five years has worsened generally. Underweight prevalence‎ has increased from 24.2 per cent to 31.5 per cent, stunting prevalence increased from 34.8 per cent to 43.6 per cent while wasting prevalence increased marginally from 10.2 per cent to10.8 per cent.

‎”In low and middle income countries, the age 3-24 months is a time when growth falters for too many children. An inadequate diet during this period increases the risk of stunting, micro- nutrient deficiencies, illnesses and death.”

Meanwhile, a total of 34,367 eligible women; 28,085 of mothers and caregivers of children under five years and 15,183 men were interviewed using structured questionnaires aided by Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI) devices.