Malnutrition affects all countries on Earth

Since last year, I have taken a deeper interest in malnutrition and food poverty both here in the UK and across the world. One thing I noticed was that the image of malnutrition is often linked to regions in Africa and Asia. While the issues there are not unimportant, people are going hungry in all parts of the world.

There are probably people suffering from malnutrition right now who do not realise it. Food poverty is a growing issue both in developing and developed parts of the world. Anywhere there is an imbalance of wealth, there will be some people who are worse off than others.

Another aspect of malnutrition is those who are overweight or obese due to poor diets. This can eventually lead to a range of diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

According to World Hunger’s ‘Hunger Notes‘:

  • Overall, 5.6 million children under age five died in 2016, nearly 15,000 daily
  • Approximately 3.1 million children die from undernutrition each year 66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world
  • Globally, about 151 million under-five-year-olds were estimated to be stunted in 2013. (UNICEF, WHO and The World Bank, 2018
  • Globally, 99 million under-five-year-olds were underweight in 2013, most of whom lived in Asia and Africa (Krasevec et al., 2014).

Some common terms (from the World Health Organization)

Malnutrition: deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients

Undernutrition: insufficient intake of energy and nutrients to meet an individual’s needs to maintain good health.

Stunted: when someone has a low height for their age

Wasting: when someone has a low weight for their age

Micronutrient deficiencies: the insufficient amount of important vitamins and nutrients

Overweight and obesity:

  • the abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health.
  • overweight is a BMI greater than or equal to 25; and
  • obesity is a BMI greater than or equal to 30.

I believe everyone has a right to have access to nutritious, healthy food and that no one should go hungry. With the research and technological advances of today, health services, scientists and the general public should be able to come together to combat the issue.


References:

https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/malnutrition

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesity-and-overweight

World Child Hunger Facts

Taking a break from media

We need to take a break from the media including social media. That doesn’t mean I turn off the television and then I get on CNN online. That means I truly take a break. And children need to be taking breaks as well. … What we know about children is if they’re spending most or all of their time related to tragedies, that can increase their stress reactions.

Robin Gurwitch PhD

Lately, I’ve found myself picking up my phone, flicking through the same notifications and discarding it only to pick it up two seconds later. It’s difficult not to feel like this pandemic has been a missed opportunity to relearn how to enjoy ourselves without our screens, or how to learn or simply exist without them.

There is a lot of focus on maintaining communication with our loved ones via social media, but what about letter writing? How many people take the time to put pen to paper instead of the three seconds it requires to send a text message? How many of us send emails that aren’t work-related? Everything has been streamlined into micro-messaging and I’d argue that a lot of people don’t feel connected at all.

Still, taking a break from media isn’t just about not keeping in touch, it’s about mental clarity. We’ve been bombarded with so much information over the past year and a half that there’s no time to process it. There is no time to reflect. With our laptops, phones and televisions screens on, we are in a constant flux capacitor of information and we need a break.

“There’s a lot of stuff we can do that doesn’t involve a screen. We can get off our phones by subscribing to print magazines, or working on a physical puzzle. I’ve noticed a lot of people talking about a boom in escapist fiction – books that aren’t about a pandemic, really good stories you can get lost in.” – Tanya Goodin

I used to love reading books as a child and young adult, but with the popularity of social media and smartphones, I started reading on my phone. During the first lockdown in the UK, I created a huge spreadsheet of books I wanted to read – and proceeded to read four or five before I gave up. For the third (!) lockdown, I bought a physical book called The French Girl (and two ebooks). Reading the physical book was a revelation. At first, I struggled to get through a chapter. My fingers would itch for my phone, desperate to scroll through notifications! With time, I was able to sit through multiple chapters and switch off from the world for a little while.

As for the ebooks… I started one and got distracted by something else on my phone. The huge spreadsheet remains untouched.

Go figure!


Source: How to take a digital detox during the Covid-19 pandemic