Malnutrition has long been a serious public health issue in Haiti, with most recent estimates showing that over 100,000 of Haitian children under five years of age are suffering from acute malnutrition, while one in three children is stunted or irreversible short for their age.
WHAT IS MALNUTRITION?
Malnutrition is a state in which an individual’s physical functions are impaired, to the extent that he or she can no longer maintain normal body capacities such as physical and cognitive growth, learning, physical activity, pregnancy, lactation and the ability to defend against and recuperate from disease. Malnutrition refers to deficiencies in vitamins and minerals, as well as to stunting, wasting, and being underweight.
WHY DOES MALNUTRITION OCCUR?
Understanding why malnutrition occurs is complex. The immediate causes of malnutrition are inadequate food intake and disease, however these are directly related to more complicated determinants such as food insecurity, poverty, the environment and access to health care. These determinants are in turn affected by even broader influences, such as the economy, political instability, and health infrastructure. This is why CNP/Kore Timoun addresses the issue of malnutrition in a number of ways, with an emphasis on focusing on the root causes of the condition.
WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF MALNUTRITION?
Just as the causes of malnutrition are complex, so too are the consequences of this condition. Malnutrition has both immediate and long term effects, which impact individuals, families, societies and entire nations. Because of its close link to infectious disease, malnutrition is a huge risk factor for preventable diseases such as pneumonia, measles, and tuberculosis and is considered the underlying cause of over 60% of child deaths per year, making it the biggest contributor to childhood death. Malnutrition also affects the physical and cognitive development of children, which in turn results in adults who have not reached their full potential. Stunted and malnourished adult women are more likely to give birth to malnourished children. Stunted adults are also less able to achieve their full earning potential, making it difficult for them to extract themselves from poverty and increasing the likelihood of further malnutrition within the home. And so the malnutrition cycle continues.
BREAKING THE MALNUTRITION CYCLE
CNP/Kore Timoun is working to break the malnutrition cycle by helping to raise a generation of healthy Haitian children who can in turn raise Haiti from poverty. Learn more about our active nutrition projects below.