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87% children in Zimbabwe malnourished

by Staff Reporter
25 Aug 2017 at 07:52hrs | Views
ABOUT 87 percent of children under the age of five years in Zimbabwe do not have access to the minimum required diet necessary for physical and mental development, statistics show.

The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) 2017 Rural Livelihoods Assessment Report says the number of children with access to acceptable meals had gone down to 13 percent.

"The proportion of children that consumed diets that met the minimum dietary diversity remained generally very low across all the provinces of the country. Nationally, 13 percent of children aged 6 to 23 months consumed a minimum dietary diversity. This is lower than 18 percent reported in 2015," reads the report.

"Masvingo province had the least prevalence followed by Matabeleland North, South and Mashonaland West provinces which scored 10. These provinces were followed by Manicaland and Midlands which stand at 12 percent."

Mashonaland East had the highest prevalence at 21 percent followed by Mashonaland Central at 18 percent, according to the report.

Experts say a child is considered to have the necessary diet, which is called the Minimum Dietary Diversity (MDD), if the food is made up of four or more of the stipulated seven food groups.

"Iron plays an important role in the prevention of anaemia while vitamin A prevents nutritional blindness, significantly reduces the severity of illnesses and even death from such common childhood infections as diarrhoea and measles," reads the report.

"The food groups include: grains, roots and tuber; legumes and nuts; dairy products; flesh foods (meat, fish, poultry and liver/organ meats); other fruits and vegetables, eggs and vitamin A rich foods."

According to the report, there has been a general decrease in the proportion of children consuming iron-rich foods across all provinces.

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