CCTV.com - CNTV English - CCTV News

Inadequate nutrition endangers children

12-20-2011 12:54 BJT

by Shan Juan

BEIJING, Dec. 20 (Xinhuanet) -- Chinese children younger than age 5 face serious nutrition problems that could have lifelong health consequences if left unaddressed, senior nutrition experts warned.

The most worrisome problem is deficiencies of vitamins A and D, iron, calcium and zinc among children younger than 5, said Huo Junsheng, director of the food science and technology department of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The consequences are severe because health threats from infant malnutrition are in some cases irreversible and could last for the children's entire lives, affecting their school performance and future economic productivity," Huo said at a workshop in Beijing on Monday for the nutrition of children affected by the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008.

For example, a vitamin A deficiency in children severely impairs vision, possibly even leading to blindness, and significantly increases the risk of serious diseases, and even death from common childhood infections such as measles, according to the World Health Organization.

Worldwide, between 250,000 and 500,000 vitamin-A-deficient children lose their sight annually and half of them die within 12 months of becoming blind.China, despite its economic miracle over the past 30 years, has the second-largest number of undersized children worldwide, and one in five children in rural areas is anemic, mainly due to an iron deficiency, statistics showed.

Huo urged the government to make nutritional aid a national policy, particularly among children, through home nutritional-supplement programs.

In a charitable program operated by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and funded by the United Nations Children's Fund, more than 30,000 children in areas hit by the earthquake were fed a protein-based micronutrient powder called Yingyangbao for 18 months.

That helped lower their anemia rate from 52 percent to 26 percent, said Huo, who led the implementation of the program.

"It would cost just pennies each day per child, but the gains are huge both for the families and the country," said Chen Chunming, a nutrition specialist in Beijing.

Huo agreed and urged young parents to increase their nutrition awareness in feeding infants.

"Daily food consumption might not meet children's needs for varied nutrients, especially in poor rural areas," he pointed out.

The most recent national survey of the nutrition, conducted in 2002, found that the daily calcium consumption among the children on the mainland was less than half the recommended level.

"Even in cities, malnutrition is still widespread among children," Chen said.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

Hot Videos view more

The celebrations are still continuing as the victorious coach, Joachim Loew, has been honored for his achievement in his hometown of Freiburg.
Germany coach Loew honored in hometown of Freiburg

Chinese men´s national team continued its preparations for next year´s Asian Cup, as they managed a one-all draw against visitors Jordan during a football friendly in Harbin, the capital city of Northeast China´s Heilongjiang Province.
China held to 1-1 draw by Jordan

The defending world champs came into the contest with a perfect 6-and-oh record, but they would be in for a tough first half before opening things up in the second.
USA beat Slovenia 119-76 in quarter-finals

Hot Stories more

UK authorities believe killer of James Foley is a British national

Across the UK the hunt is on for James Foley’s killer, who authorities believe is a British national. As Richard Bestic reports from London, Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his summer break to lead his government’s response.

Israeli war jets renews Gaza strike as truce talks stalled

Three Palestinians were killed and 40 others wounded in the intensive Israeli war jets´ airstrikes on the Gaza city on Tuesday night, shortly before an end of a 24-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip,

Missouri police arrest dozens after violent night

As the protests in the town of Ferguson, Missouri turned violent with police facing ´heavy gunfire´ from some ´criminal elements´, cops fired tear gas, stun grenades and arrested 31 demonstrators on Monday night.

Picture in news more

More Video News

Choose TV Program