Quetzaltenango (Agenzia Fides) - The phenomenon of child malnutrition continues to be one of the main emergencies afflicting Guatemala. The latest data, just published, show that in 2017, 80% of the deaths among the youngest children under 2 years of age were caused by acute malnutrition. Despite programs adopted by the government and other local institutions, until December 23, 2017, 111 Guatemalan children died due to food shortages.
In 2017, 2 million 737 thousand children were registered between 0 and 5 years of age in the country, according to the National Statistics Institute's demographic index, and the group of children affected by acute malnutrition was 0.7%, according to the Maternal and Child Health Study. The registered data highlight that 19 thousand 160 children were in those conditions, however the number calculated by the Secretariat on Food Safety and Nutrition (Sesán) and the Ministry of Health recorded 12 thousand 281 cases, a "decline" albeit slight, compared to 13 thousand 418 children affected in 2016.
In order to cope with the phenomenon, Caritas Guatemala has been running the project "Reducing child malnutrition in four municipalities of Quetzaltenango and Sololá" since 2015. Specific objectives include increasing the calorie consumption of protein and high nutritional value food, as well as reducing the incidence of prevalent diseases such as diarrhea and respiratory diseases.
In Guatemala, 46.5% of children under the age of 5 suffer from malnutrition. According to the demographic projection, one million 272 thousand children are condemned not to reach their physical and intellectual potential. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 13/2/2018)