90% Of Children In Lebanon Are Not Getting The Needed Diet For Development

UNICEF/Fouad Choufany

UNICEF Lebanon released a report of “Nutrition in Times of Crisis” for February 2022. It constitutes a nationwide nutrition survey on children under 5 years and women in Lebanon.

According to the data collected by Lebanon Nutrition Sector from 3,550 children and 9,200 women, about 200,000 children under 5 suffer from different aspects of malnutrition, like anemia, stunting, and wasting.

UNICEF said that these numbers are likely to rise unless action is taken.

The Lebanon Nutrition Sector also indicated that 9 out of 10 children aged between 6 and 23 months are not receiving the minimum diets for development.

The survey was conducted in the third quarter of 2021 by Lebanon’s Ministry of Public Health, as part of the Nutrition Sector led by UNICEF and Action Against Hunger (AAH).

UNICEF Lebanon Representative, Ettie Higgins, commented in that regard, “What, when, and how children eat before age 2 is more important than at any other time in their lives. Yet, today in Lebanon, thousands of infants and young children are not receiving the nutrition they need to survive and thrive, in many cases with irreversible life-long consequences.”

UNICEF Lebanon

The survey also indicated that 7% of children are too short for their age.

According to Lebanon Nutrition Sector, “trends over the past 10 years show a slight improvement in the incidence of acute malnutrition among Lebanese and refugee children.”

Nutrition in Times of Crisis survey showed that 41% of children are affected by anemia and 70% of children are not exclusively breastfed.

Adding that in 60% of cases, children’s diets do not have sufficient vitamins and proteins, while 80% of children miss Minimum Meal Frequency (MMF).

According to the study, those numbers will have “irreversible lifelong impacts on brain development, and cause low immunity and major risks to the survival of the child.”

In the report, UNICEF called for urgent help to “address the growing nutritional needs in Lebanon” and decrease the drastically increasing malnutrition.