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G8 leaders must seize their chance to tackle undernutrition

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c3289 (Published 23 June 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c3289
  1. Mohamed Ag Ayoya, nutrition specialist, Unicef Country Office, New Delhi
  1. mayoya{at}unicef.org

    The world continues to fail malnourished children and hence stalls any progress in achieving the United Nations’ millennium development goals to halve hunger and reduce child mortality by two thirds between 1990 and 2015.

    We know that between 3.5 million and five million children aged under 5 years die every year because of undernutrition and that low birth weight is responsible for 3.3% of overall child mortality.1 Initiation of breast feeding within one hour of birth, exclusive breast feeding for the first six months, and continued breast feeding for two years or beyond—together with age appropriate, nutritionally adequate complementary foods—have the potential to prevent 19% of all deaths of under 5s in the developing world.

    Providing vitamin A supplements twice a year to all children aged 6 months to 59 months can avert …

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