PUBLIC POLICY BRIEF
Malnutrition is a condition that the body develops when it doesn't get enough and the right amount of nutrients and minerals. It occurs in people who are either under nourished over nourished. Under nourished are those people who consume too few nutrients that are essential or a case where the body depletes or use them at a faster rate than at which they are being replaced. In developed countries like the United States, nutritional deficiency has been replaced with dietary imbalance that is the leading causes of death and disability. Over nutrition is the result of eating too much plus eating of too many of the un-required nutrients. This risk is increased by being overweight and eating of a diet that is rich in fats and salt. (Alan N. Howard. 1978). Nutrients are needed to maintain healthy tissues and for the right and better function of the body organs. Malnutrition affects the body growth, morbidity mortality and the cognitive development plus the reproduction and the physical capacity of the body this impacts on the overall human being performance, health and in extension its survival. Malnutrition is the under laying factor to many children's diseases and it's mainly prevalent in the developing countries. A well nourished child is that whose weight height comparers well with the standards normal distribution of heights and weights of healthy children of the same age and sex. (Linda K. De Bruyne et al. 2008.) The factors that contribute to the malnutrition are many and varied aand it relates to some demographic and socio economic factors e.g. the parents occupation, number of children family income marital status urban or rural residence etc. But poverty and lack of food are the primary reason. The fight against malnutrition has seen several organizations being at the forefront in fighting the diseases.
In the United States several health policy groups have sprung up to help fight the scourge. In developing countries several international organization and non organization are actively involved in stemming the pandemic this include international organization like the world health Organisation, save the children fund and a myriad of research organization and institutions All these aim at not only providing funds and resources to address the disease but the major aim is to confluence the governments health policies pertaining to the problem. Some individuals like the first lady Michel Obama and Bill and through foundations like the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, are actively involved in the fight against the syndrome. The international nutrition community has put forward a clear set of principles and to reduce deaths in the moderately malnourished children i.e. after decades of neglect and poor standards that will positively impact over 55 million moderately malnourished children if translated into effective food programs. The WHO has agreed that animal source foods such as the dairy products are the first and the most effective choice in to treat moderately malnourished children. The MSF Spain (medical humanitarian organization/ Doctors without Borders) this new standard adopted can greatly reduce the child death only if new initiatives to support and fund the programs are invented. The food programs that are currently in use to address the problem are cereal based and this still lack many of the nutrients that children need. These newly recommended animal foods will make nutrition programs in the developing countries more expensive as it will require at least 3.5 billion euros to fulfill. This therefore requires the national governments and donors to initiate new policies to accommodate the new standards. The MSF has already started to implement these new standards in all its nutrition programs worldwide. In the United States the national cancer institute based in the USA states that up to 20% of the cancer patients in the hospitals die out of malnutrition. the problem is aggravated by the convectional medical advice that suggest an individual eats whatever he/she wants and this has been known to promote malnutrition leading to a condition called cachexia. The food research and action center (FRAC) an NGO in the USA state that according to the US Department of Agriculture , 38 million Americans of which 13.9 million of them are children do live in household that suffer from hunger and the majority of the children suffer from malnutrition. This problem for both the developed and the developing countries can be solved through proper government policies.
For both the developing and the developed countries, policy makers need to adopt the policies that empower the women's education and economic status level as this have a great impact on reducing child malnutrition. Economic policies that relate to improvement of in the income capita of individuals and halving the poverty levels in the third world will greatly impact on the levels of malnutrition. food security is the most significant as most of the countries in the south do suffer from famines and in sufficient food supply thus a need for an action plan to rectify this through adoption of appropriate technology e.g. on genetically modified food and on irrigation and agriculture in general. (Maurice W. Schiff & Alberto Valdés. 1990). These policies if adopted will result into tangible economic benefit to the individual countries as they will save on the health care costs, will uplift the economic status and the income capita of the individual countries. The legality of the policies must also be taken into consideration when operationization of the policy. These policies will be required to b undertaken with outmost efficiency for the result to be achieved as embezzlement of funds, poor governance and lack of human and other resources will hinder good outcome. For this to be achieved it means that the political environment must be conducive for its achievement. (World Bank. 1990).
Linda K. De Bruyne et al. (2008.) Nutrition and diet therapy: principles and practice. Ed 7. Cengage Learning.
World Health Organization. (2000). Management of the child with a serious infection or severe malnutrition: guidelines for care at the first-referral level in developing countries. WHO.
Maurice W. Schiff & Alberto Valdés. (1990).The link between poverty and malnutrition: a household theoretic approach .Country Economics Dept., the World Bank
Alan N. Howard. (1978). Recent advances in obesity research, Vol 2. Newman
World Bank. (1990). World Development Report 1990. Vol 13. World Bank Publications