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the number of malnourished children is increasing in bangladesh due to climate change
Aivee Akther Bangladesh Environmental Problems

The number of malnourished children is increasing in Bangladesh due to climate change

The number of malnourished children is increasing in Bangladesh due to climate change


Climate change is shaking the whole world. Heavy rains, droughts, and fires have intensified, and many countries are now spending their days in anxiety. Climate change has devastating impacts on human health, especially on child health.

Climate change is creating a significant threat to child nutrition. The number of severely malnourished children in Bangladesh is increasing due to the adverse effects of climate change. Families living in poverty under the influence of natural calamities are spinning in the circle of crisis.

Many families struggle to make ends meet due to cyclones, floods, and river erosion. Amid climate change’s consequences, countless families lost their jobs during the corona pandemic and became poor again.

The ongoing excessive inflation in the country has added additional burdens to those families. In general, if the number of income earners in a lower-middle-class family is only one and the number of family members is four or more, it may not be possible for the family members to consume complete calories daily!

A child’s calorie intake is not appropriate for their age and is generally considered malnourished. Thousands of coastal families are living on high embankments due to climate change. Fear of breaking the dam! Low-income families have lost their homes due to the cyclone and are living dehumanized life.

These family members may not know what children’s nutrition is! And even if they know, the children of these families under the grip of poverty do not get minimum food.

Many villages of Satkhira, Khulna, Barguna, and Patuakhali are submerged in water daily during high tide. These villages have been and are being directly affected by climate change.

Families affected by climate change on the coast cope with various problems and live independently. Those families cannot think separately about their child’s nutrition, where they continue to face one disaster after another.

However, the number of poverty in coastal areas is increasing. Poor coastal families are migrating to cities with their families due to climate change and taking residence in a city slum, the embankment on the river, or next to the railway line. It is nothing but a joke to think of feeding the children of the family where they are tired of living and providing food themselves!

As the farmers are affected due to flood, drought, and river erosion, their children also suffer from severe Malnutrition.

Malnutrition links with poverty. Poverty is the leading cause of Malnutrition. Poverty is high in coastal districts, so coastal children are more affected by Malnutrition. If the family’s income decreases, children will suffer from Malnutrition – this is normal!

The impact of climate change will not end soon. As a result, the number of children suffering from extreme Malnutrition will continue to increase! According to a UNICEF report, about 20 million children in Bangladesh are at risk of climate change disasters. Bangladesh has the highest number of severely malnourished children worldwide.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), severe acute Malnutrition is the leading cause of death among five-year-old children.

Twenty million children around the world suffer from acute malnutrition every year. Moreover, about 1 million children died of these. Most of these children are residents of South Asian countries.

Another newly released data from the Public Health Nutrition Institute under the Department of Health last year (2021) reported that the number of severely malnourished children in the country’s hospitals increased almost twice as compared to the previous year.

Moreover, government statistics reported that the number of severely malnourished children coming to the country’s hospitals for treatment in 2021 increased by more than 72 percent compared to the previous year. When the state of the whole country is like this, the state of the coast is easily discernible.

Coastal people are more affected by climate change as they have fewer jobs and more poverty. Coastal children are also more malnourished. Malnutrition in children is usually not visible to the naked eye.

Prolonged Malnutrition or severe Malnutrition can lead to child death. Malnutrition is of three types: Malnutrition due to lack of micronutrient supplements and Malnutrition due to nutritional imbalance. Indicators of Malnutrition are weight, height, and age.

If the balance of height and weight is not standard, the child suffers from Malnutrition. The data published by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics on ‘Bangladesh Malnutrition Map-2019’ also shows the picture of child malnutrition. According to UNICEF, 28 percent of children under five are stunted, and 10 percent are skinny.

Malnutrition stunts a child’s intelligence and development. Long-term Malnutrition can also lead to stunting in children. Malnourished children are stunted, thin, underweight, and anemic.

Malnourished children’s immune system decreases and various complications occur. The country’s overall development is not possible if a large part of the country’s children, especially the coastal children, is malnourished.

Today’s children are tomorrow’s future. Sustained and planned action is essential before child malnutrition turns into a disaster. If it were not for the harmful effects of climate change, children would not have to face the dire picture of Malnutrition.

It is time to adapt to climate change and survive. To eliminate child malnutrition in coastal areas, the family’s parents should be aware and keep special allocations in the related sectors.

There is a need to manage poverty alleviation in different projects under social programs to improve the quality of life of coastal people. The fewer climate problems, the less poverty will emerge; thus, Malnutrition among children will also reduce.

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