Lancet Series Released Before Nutrition Summit Says Malnutrition Accounts For 45% Of All Under-Five Child Deaths

“Malnutrition is the underlying cause of death for at least 3.1 million children, accounting for 45 percent of all deaths among children under the age of five and stunting growth among a further 165 million, according to a set of reports released ahead of a nutrition summit in London,” The Guardian reports. The Lancet published the data in a series of papers on maternal and child health, a follow-up to a similar 2008 series and preceding the Nutrition for Growth meeting taking place this weekend as part of the U.K. presidency of the G8, the newspaper notes. “Saturday’s nutrition summit, co-hosted by the U.K., Brazil and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), is expected to see financial pledges from rich governments and declarations of commitments from poor countries,” The Guardian writes, noting, “Even if the summit comes up with more money, it will fall far short of the $9.6 billion a year The Lancet says is needed to reduce the number of deaths from malnutrition among under-fives by one million” (Tran, 6/6).

“A group of British non-governmental organizations have been running a campaign in the build up to the G8 summit called Enough Food for Everyone IF, which focuses on a number of measures that could be taken to protect communities that are vulnerable to hunger, and to bolster efforts to address child malnutrition,” a World Food Programme press release states. “The ‘IF’ campaign … will hold a major public rally in a London park on the same day as the [nutrition meeting] to help draw attention to the plight of the world’s hungry,” the press release adds (6/5). On Tuesday, British lawmakers released a report (.pdf) calling on the Department for International Development (DfID) “to expand the number of countries where it has bilateral nutrition programs,” Devex reports, noting, “DfID, in response, said it will announce its future plans on nutrition on June 8 at the U.K.-hosted ‘Nutrition for Growth’ event” (Ravelo, 6/5).

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