Health and Human Development - Global health - health in childhood
Health in childhood
Malnutrition is prevalent in nearly all countries. An infant's health is
often determined by their birth weight because it is universally accepted
that there is a lower risk of physical and mental problems, illness and
death in children whose birth weight is higher. This birth weight is
influenced by the weight and nutritional status of the mother before and
Pre term and infant deaths are greater in underweight mothers. Children
often grow more slowly, if they do not eat enough to cover their
nutritional requirements. This contributes to high death rates and
decreased learning potential, immunity to disease and work productivity.
Being underweight is a very serious consequence of inappropriate food
intake during infancy. Providing an adequate diet after weaning is often
hindered by one's living conditions and isolation due to limited access to
variety and quality of food. This is often evident in Indigenous Australian
Children who are malnourished during childhood often become stunted
adults, with an increased chance of suffering from chronic diseases.
Developing countries have a high incidence of children suffering from
There are numerous vitamin and mineral deficiencies that affect children
throughout the world. Vitamin A deficiency causes a large number of deaths
in children. Anaemia  leads to poor health and an inability to learn and
work productively due to deprivation of oxygen to the brain. Infectious
diseases such as pneumonia and diarrhoea combined with malnutrition are
also very common causes of death amongst children.
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