UNICEF Director calls Stunting the “Crisis You’ve Never Heard Of”

The following two tabs change content below.
Peter Rohloff has training in parasitology, internal medicine and pediatrics. He practices in Boston, MA at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Boston Children's Hospital. Since 2003, Peter has been working in Guatemala, where he serves as the medical director for a health systems NGO – Wuqu’ Kawoq | Maya Health Alliance. Peter’s interests include the management of chronic diseases of children and adults in resource poor settings and how indigeneity, cultural, and language barriers impact access to and utilization of health care. @wuqukawoq

Anthony Lake, the executive director of UNICEF, has just published a great opinion piece about stunting, or chronic child malnutrition. You can read the full piece here.

In short, he reminds us that stunting is a condition which affects 180 million children around the world and which, nevertheless, most of us have “never heard of”. Stunting is a smoldering condition, one which is difficult to detect clinically without using formal growth metrics. However, although children with stunting appear, at first glance, to be normal, they will have reduced learning, reduced cognitive ability, and reduced adult earning potential. They will also be more susceptible to acute illnesses, such as diarrhea and respiratory infections, during childhood.