The report which is based on the most recent observation as of 2013 also put the number of Gambian children who suffer from anaemia, vitamin A deficiency and iodine deficiency at 79.4%, 64.0% and 72.8% respectively.
The report read: “Stunting is caused by long-term inadequate dietary intake and continuing bouts of infection and disease, often beginning with maternal malnutrition, which leads to poor foetal growth, low birth weight and poor growth. Stunting causes permanent impairment to cognitive and physical development that can lower educational attainment and reduce adult income. Between 1990 and 2011, the prevalence of stunting in developing countries declined by an estimated 16.6 percentage points, from 44.6 to 28 percent. There are 160 million stunted children in developing countries today compared with 248 million in 1990. The multiple burdens of malnutrition including undernourishment and under-nutrition, micro-nutrient deficiencies, overweight and obesity impose high and in some cases rising economic and social costs in countries at all levels. Different types of malnutrition may co-exist within the same country, household or individual and their prevalence is changing rapidly along with changes in food systems. The often confusing terminology used to describe malnutrition is in itself a reflection of the complex, multi-dimensional, dynamic nature of the problem and the policy challenges associated with it.
“Malnutrition is an abnormal physiological condition caused by inadequate, unbalanced or excessive consumption of the macronutrients that provide dietary energy and the micronutrients that are essential for physical and cognitive growth and development. Undernourishment or hunger is estimated as the prevalence and number of people whose food intake is insufficient to meet their requirements on a continuous basis. Since 1990 to 1992, the estimated number of undernourished people in developing countries has declined from 980 million to 852 million and the prevalence of undernourishment has declined from 23 percent to 15 percent in 2012. Deficiency in vitamin A impairs normal functioning of the visual system and maintenance of cell function for growth, red blood cell production, immunity and reproduction. Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of blindness in children. In 2007, 163 million children under five in developing countries were estimated to be vitamin A deficient, with a prevalence of about 31 percent, down from approximately 36 percent in 1990.”