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WHO Raises Alarm Over Malnutrition Facing Asia-Pacific Children
Published in Saudi Press Agency on 09 - 08 - 2011

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned that millions of children are dying or falling prey to diseases due to malnutrition in Asia-Pacific region.
Failure to address the issue is having an impact beyond health and is causing direct social and economic consequences, as malnutrition affects productivity by reducing capacity to perform physical work and lessening earning ability, Xinhua quoted WHO as saying in a press release here Tuesday.
WHO said the double burden of malnutrition and overweight, with malnutrition more prominent in Asia, weakens people's immune systems and heightens the risk of noncommunicable diseases.
Malnutrition accounts for 11 percent of the global burden of disease, leading to long-term poor health and disability, as well as poor educational and development outcomes, according to WHO.
It said about 20 percent of deaths among children under 5 could be avoided through simple actions such as exclusive breastfeeding until six months, introduction of appropriate and safe complementary foods at six months, and continuation of breastfeeding for up to two years and beyond.
In an effort to reverse the rising trend in nutrition-related problems, health experts and policy-makers from the region are to meet in Sri Lanka for three days of discussions beginning on Wednesday.
The meeting "Biregional Meeting on Scaling Up Nutrition" is designed to gain better information on nutritional status, which is essential in identifying the areas where assistance is most needed to significantly improve nutrition in the region.
In response to global nutrition challenges, the 63rd World Health Assembly, WHO's decision-making body, has approved a resolution urging members to increase political commitment to preventing and reducing malnutrition.


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