At the end of last year I was distressed by an article on malnutrition in Ethiopia that was published in the New York Times on December 28, 2006. It was titled “Malnutrition Is Cheating Its Survivors and Africa’s Future.” The article’s author Michael Wines wrote, “In this corrugated land of mahogany mountains and tan, parched valleys, it is hard to tell which is the greater scandal: the thousands of children malnutrition kills, or the thousands more it allows to survive.” Indeed, more than 200 million children under the age of 5, mostly living in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, fail to reach their full cognitive, motor and socioemotional potential because of micronutrient deficiencies and inadequate cognitive stimulation. These children will probably fail at school, fail to achieve their income potential, and remain trapped in poverty. A recent series of papers published in The Lancet also addressed this topic, analyzing the link between compromised development of children and modifiable biological and psychosocial risk factors (Lancet 2007;369:60–70, 145–57 and 229–42). The authors call for immediate intervention in four key areas: stunting, inadequate cognitive stimulation, iodine deficiency, and iron deficiency anemia, the evidence of which is overwhelming
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