Malnutrition has no borders. India, for example, has one of the highest malnourishment rates among children in the world. Chronic diet deficiencies have severe consequences on a child’s life, including an increased likelihood of premature death, susceptibility to disease, impaired cognitive skills and academic performance, lower physical capability, and long-term negative effects on brain and nerve development.
Globally, nearly 800 million people worldwide don’t get enough to eat, and malnutrition contributes to 45 percent of deaths of children aged under 5 years.
We're marking this year's World Food Day (October 16, 2018) with a renewed call to action to ensure that everyone, everywhere, has access to the safe, healthy and nutritious food they need. The task seems daunting since, even in a wealthy country like the United States, nearly 50 million people go hungry.
In India, undernourishment is compounded by poverty and other socioeconomic issues faced by tribal and rural communities. In 2016 in the state of Maharashtra, for example, as many as 83,068 children under the age of six were categorized as being severely underweight. United Way Mumbai is fighting to lower this number.
Through Project Poshan, United Way works in partnership with the government's flagship early childhood program to train employees of Anganwadis—government-funded childcare centers—to amplify their efforts when fighting hunger and malnutrition locally.
Among other efforts this year, United Way distributed nutritional supplementation to nearly 2,000 children in need, delivering 347,900 meals of high-caloric value. It also contributed to the capacity-building of Anganwadi workers, facilitated medical referrals for severely malnourished children, and counseled parents on hygiene and low-cost nutrition.
Thanks to United Way, communities received a roadmap for improving childhood nutrition and ensuring long-term recovery, one step toward achieving a world without hunger.