Nutrition et développement

KIGALI – Il n’y a pas de plus grand obstacle au développement économique à long terme d’un pays que la malnutrition des enfants. Lorsqu’un organisme en pleine croissance n’obtient pas assez de vitamines et de nutriments essentiels, les effets nuisibles de la sous-alimentation se font sentir jusque dans la vie adulte.

Dans un pays à faible revenu, le régime alimentaire consiste principalement d’amidons, comme le riz, et de légumes, comme les pois, des aliments qui comportent très peu de protéines. Aussi même un enfant au ventre plein n’obtient pas nécessairement le bon équilibre des aliments nutritifs et des vitamines requis pour un développement physique sain.

Tout cela fait payer un énorme prix aux enfants sous-alimentés qui sont plus susceptibles de contracter des maladies. Selon l’UNICEF, les enfants qui souffrent de sous-alimentation chronique courent un risque de mortalité 9,5 fois plus élevé s’ils contractent la diarrhée et de 6,4 fois plus élevé lorsqu’ils présentent des symptômes de pneumonie. Mondialement, une nutrition inadéquate est la cause d’au moins un décès évitable sur trois de jeunes enfants (jusqu’à 2,5 millions chaque année).

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