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We the Children:
The Report of the Secretary-General

Nutrition Balance Sheet
Goal Gains Unfinished Business
Malnutrition: reduction of severe and moderate malnutrition among under-five children by half
  • Malnutrition declined by 17 per cent in developing countries. South America achieved the goal with a 60 per cent reduction in underweight prevalence over the decade.
  • 149 million children are still malnourished, two thirds of them in Asia. The absolute number of malnourished children has increased in Africa.
Breastfeeding: empowerment of all women to breastfeed their children exclusively for four to six months and to continue breastfeeding, with complementary food, well into the second year of life
  • Exclusive breastfeeding rates increased by nearly one fifth over the decade.

  • Gains were also made in timely complementary feeding and continued breastfeeding into the second year of life.
  • Only about half of all infants are exclusively breastfed for the first four months of life.
Vitamin A deficiency: virtual elimination by the year 2000
  • More than 40 countries are reaching the large majority of their children (over 70 per cent) with at least one high-dose vitamin A supplement a year. UNICEF estimates that as many as one million child deaths may have been prevented in this way in the last three years alone.
  • As many countries are discontinuing national polio immunization days, a new distribution system for vitamin A will have to be found.
Iodine deficiency disorders: virtual elimination
  • Some 72 per cent of households in the developing world are using iodized salt, compared to less than 20 per cent at the beginning of the decade. As a result, 90 million newborns are protected yearly from significant loss in learning ability.
  • There are still 37 countries where less than half the households consume iodized salt.
Low birth weight: reduction of the rate of low birth weight (2.5 kilograms (kg) or less) to less than 10 per cent
  • To date, 57 developing countries have low-birth-weight levels below 10 per cent.
  • 11 million babies in South Asia and 3.6 million babies in sub-Saharan Africa are born each year with low birth weight.
Growth monitoring: growth promotion and regular growth monitoring among children to be institutionalized in all countries by the end of the 1990s
  • A majority of developing countries have implemented growth monitoring and promotion activities using various approaches.
  • Growth monitoring information is often not used as a basis for community, family or government action.
Household food security: Dissemination of knowledge and supporting services to increase food production
  • The number of people in developing countries lacking sufficient calories in their diets has decreased marginally.
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, about one third of the population lack sufficient food.

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