Solving the Issue of Childhood Malnutrition Thailand
Malnutrition is the lack of proper nourishment caused by not having enough to eat and/or not receiving enough of required nutrients. This can lead to one not being able to live a healthy and normal active life. As of 2018, one out of every nine people experience chronic hunger; undernourishment caused by not ingesting enough energy to live a normal and active life. In total, that adds up to roughly 821 million people living day to day. Out of those 821 million, another 100 million are children, who have known hunger, and have known starvation. 1 Living in poverty and with laking food and nourishment, health concerns are on the rise as to how proper nutrition affects children. A study done by FAO determined that one out of four children in the world is stunted, a condition which makes children significantly shorter and underdeveloped due to lack of proper nutrition.
Without proper treatment many of these kids will be shorter, weaker, and are statistically more likely to earn less than someone who wasn't stunted while growing up. Underweight children are also risk being more likely to contract disease such as diarrhoea and pneumonia 2 According to research by GAIN (global alliance for improved nutrition) malnutrition is an underlying cause of the death of 2.6 million children each year “ that's a child every twelve seconds “ a third of child deaths globally.
Rates have continuously been on the rise from the 1970's and only continue to grow. 3 Most common in Asia, children are seeing increasing rates of stunted youth and mortality rates. People in these areas are also lacking vitamin A, a vitamin used for vision, the immune system, and reproduction. In developing nations with high rates of child malnutrition, children are getting sick easily, wars also play a contributing factor as them closing certain areas causes food to become in more demand, and therefore prices surge making it difficult just to feed a family. People will often cut meals and food to save money, hurting them in the long run. The process of cutting meals also affects the mothers making some of them unable to breastfeed their children at prime developmental times in their lives.4
United Nations Involvement
Malnutrition is one of the world's largest health concerned. The number of people affected by malnutrition is larger than AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis combined. Because of such a necessity for adicuite treatment, the UN has taken action. 5 They have started the World Food Summit (WFS) goal which aims to decrease the national average of child malnutrition by half through working towards the Millennium Development Goals. There are eight goals which aim to reduce worldwide hunger one of these goals being to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. Written and signed in 2000, all 191 UN member states have agreed to try and reach this goal by 2015. According to the UN document of human rights (UDHR) made in 1948, everyone has the, right to a standard of living adequate for living including food according to UDHR article 25. This policy makes the necessity of food more than ethics, but a human right. People in developing nations have also been treated by the United Nations in receiving food donations along with money. Some
We, the country of Thailand, believe in giving each and every child equal opportunity and therefore have implemented special programs to benefit all those less fortunate by giving government handouts to all those living below the national poverty line money. We have done this through providing $1.90 a day and have seen dramatic results. This money can be used to buy necessary foods with the most common lacking nutrients in a diet, protein and vitamins. It is important to Thailand that the rates of childhood malnutrition drop, therefore we feel it necessary to aid those in need. From 1993 to 2005, the percentage of children moderately to severely underweight has significantly decreased to 7% from a high 16.3% of children being malnourished.
This program works by gifting those who make less than 30,000 baht ($846) a year can receive 3,000 baht ($86), and those who make 30,000 to 100,000 baht ($846 to $2,821) a year can receive 1,500 baht ($42). This programa benefits millions of Thai people and therefore is seen as a major success. Thailand has also been expanding the agricultural knowledge in hopes of increasing food supply. From 2011-2015 agriculture produce has risen at an average of 1.3 percent, providing a greater food supply to all those in need. According to the World Health Organization, children under the age of five are at the highest risk for death due to malnutrition as 45% of all child malnutrition deaths are within this age range. Families with children ages 0-10 should be treated with urgency as their children are at risk for future health concerns.To combate this, Thailand has implemented several child malnutrition programs since the 1980's and have seen dramatic results of decreasing rates of child malnutrition, specifically protein malnutrition.
In order to solve the issue of child malnutrition, qwe must implement agricultural produce exchanges, genetically modified foods on a local level, and free/reduced school lunches funded by those who can afford more.
A key solution for the crisis of growing Child Malnutrition in the world is to give government subsidies and tax cuts to large agricultural companies in return for shipping faulty produce to those in need. About half of the worlds produce that is seen as faulty or imperfect in shape, size, or quantity is left to sit in fields to rout or to feed to animals as livestock. This is mostly due to the demand for perfect shaped fruits and vegetables by today's average consumer who will often choose perfect or none when they shop, including fresh produce. This ideology leads to the growing population of people of going hungry as millions of tons of food are being wasted per year, some government tallies estimated $160 billion dollars worth. If we could send this food to those in areas with laking food supply, we could help to reduce child and adult malnutrition by providing it for them at a free or reduced cost. Companies would want to to take part in this deal to reduce the amount of taxes they pay, and to uphold their public image.
Growing conditions can be unpredictable and unmanageable. Many countries have difficulty growing agriculture and therefore better techniques must be used. One of these techniques could be implementing the use of Genetically Modified Organisms or GMOs into developing nations.
On average, genetically modified foods grow faster and withstand environmental conditions much better than non GMO crops. This would greatly benefit those living in areas in which produce is either too expensive or unaccessible by incurring the spread of fresh produce quicker. If governments worked with certain agencies such as TFDA (Thailand Food and Drug Administration) a crop could be started, and thriving in less than 10 years. If we were to implement local GMO crops, more sustainable produce could be produced even if wars or natural disasters blocked food ports. Perhaps if more produce could be seen on a local level, there would be less necessity to combat child malnutrition.
There are over a three billion kids in the world, and yet 800 million are slowly starving to death. If we could focus on schools and maintain a healthy diet while there, malnutrition numbers could see a definite decrease. In the United states, 30.3 million children receive free or reduced-price lunches at public schools. This greatly benefits children as they cannot afford to eat lunch at school, and therefore more fortunate people will cover the cost through higher priced school lunch and taxes. In developing nations, there is often a major divide between the rich and the poor, the have and the have nots.
Thailand believes you can use this to its advantage as wealthy kids who attend the schools will pay full price for lunch, therefore allowing the school to make money which will then benefit lower income students to receive free or reduced price lunch. In countries with lack of government services, taxing people to pay for other;s simply will not work. This is why in order to insure that kids are receiving the treatment they deserve we must work from within the school system and insure quality, health, and stable meals daily for all those in need.
Through our solutions of implementing agricultural produce exchanges, genetically modified foods on a local level, and free/reduced school lunches funded by those who can afford more, Thailand hopes to be one of the first countries to reach an all time low for child malnutrition and hunger.