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Impact Of Child Malnourishment Similar To That Of AIDS

“Globally, malnutrition is the most important cause of illness and death,” Jeremy Laurance, health editor at the Independent, writes in this editorial. Laurance details the physical effects of malnutrition on a child and notes, “Malnutrition contributes to more than half of child deaths worldwide. … It affects virtually every organ system,” and “[i]ts impact on the immune system is similar to that of AIDS.”

“The commonest cause [of malnutrition] in the developing world is lack of food, but it may also result from infection or illness, which prevents the child eating or absorbing nutrients from food,” Laurance continues, concluding, “A malnourished adult can survive until the next harvest. But a malnourished child will have its development stunted, with consequences that will be felt for life” (2/15).