A global food and nutrition crisis has led to a 25 percent increase in pregnant and breastfeeding adolescent girls and women suffering from acute malnutrition, according to a new UNICEF report.
In 2020 the figures were at around 5.5 million women from the 12 hardest-hit countries, but that number is now nearly 7 million. Women in Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Yemen are at the highest risk, with the situation in Ukraine and climate change-related droughts making matters worse.
The report, published ahead of International Women's Day, looks at the effects of the global nutritional crisis on adolescent girls and women. The report finds that over a billion adolescent girls and women suffer from "undernutrition (including underweight and short height), deficiencies in essential micronutrients, and anemia, with devastating consequences for their lives and wellbeing."
“The global hunger crisis is pushing millions of mothers and their children into hunger and severe malnutrition,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. “Without urgent action from the international community, the consequences could last for generations to come.”
Around 51 million children around the world at age two are stunted from malnutrition, meaning they are too small for their age. About half of them were stunted because they didn't get enough maternal nutrition during pregnancy and the first six months of life, according to the report.
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