07 March 2023

Undernourished and Overlooked

Undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and anaemia amplify gender inequalities by lowering learning potential, wages and life opportunities for adolescent girls and women, weakening their immunity to infections, and increasing their risk of life-threatening complications during pregnancy and childbirth. In ‘Undernourished and Overlooked: A Global Nutrition Crisis in Adolescent Girls and Women’ UNICEF examines the current status, trends and inequities in the nutritional status of adolescent girls and women of reproductive age (15-49 years), and the barriers they face in accessing nutritious diets, utilizing essential nutrition services and benefiting from positive nutrition and care practices. The analysis focuses on undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and anaemia because these forms of malnutrition affect the most vulnerable adolescent girls and women in low- and middle-income countries, especially in the context of the ongoing global food and nutrition crisis. Research highlights:   UNICEF’s findings reveal the slow global progress on nutrition in adolescent girls and women, and the multiple, interacting drivers that underlie this global crisis. The key findings are as follows: Progress on adolescent girls’ and women’s nutrition is too slow and under threat: no region is on track to meet the 2030 global targets to reduce anaemia and low birthweight, and acute malnutrition has risen by 25 per cent since 2020 in crisis-hit countries. Disadvantaged adolescent girls and women and those living in poorer regions bear the brunt of undernutrition and anaemia. Poor nutrition is passed down through generations: about half of children under 2 with stunting become stunted during pregnancy and the first six months of life. The global food crisis is deepening the nutrition crisis for adolescent girls and women. Adolescent girls and women struggle to access nutritious diets. Harmful social and gender norms and practices block progress on adolescent girls’ and women’s nutrition. Nutrition services and social protection programmes are failing to meet the nutrition needs of adolescent girls and women, especially in humanitarian settings. Adolescent girls and women lack strong policy protection against undernutrition. Conclusions:   The scale and consequences of undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and anaemia in adolescent girls and women are being overlooked and under recognized by families, society, governments, development and humanitarian communities, research and academia, media and the private sector. Unless decisive action is taken, we will collectively continue to fail adolescent girls and women, and jeopardize the survival, growth, development and well-being of their children. With the mounting pressures on food and nutrition security and rapidly approaching deadlines for the global nutrition targets, governments and their development and humanitarian partners – national and international – must take the lead in accelerating progress for adolescent girls’ and women’s nutrition. >>> Access data on the triple threats of anemia, underweight and overweight
04 March 2022

How to raise a healthy eater

Good food and nutrition are the foundation of children’s health and bring benefits that can last a lifetime. Teaching your child about healthy eating from a young age will help them to have a positive relationship with food well into adulthood. And believe it or not, shaping these habits can be fun and healthy – not just for your child, but your…, 1. Promote positive habits, Your little ones watch everything you do – including at mealtime. You can be a good role model by reaching for healthy foods, beverages and snacks yourself, and engaging in fun physical activity. Choosing to put healthy, whole foods on the table sets a great example for your child. Try including your children in food shopping and preparation. They…, 2. Maintain a healthy relationship with food, Having a healthy mindset around eating is key for lifelong health and protecting against illnesses like heart disease, cancer and diabetes. You can help guide your young child by: Helping them understand whether they are physically hungry. This will help them to become in tune with their body’s needs. Staying away from using food as a reward or…, 3. Let go of “clean your plate!”, Although you might think this could help your child get the nutrients needed from food, these behaviours can lead to disliking foods and having negative associations with mealtime. If you can’t get your child to eat their veggies, try to have them see you eating and enjoying them yourself. Your little one learns about food choices from you, so try…, 4. Make portion control a priority, Oversized portions can lead to weight gain, so it is important to teach your children about how much food they should have on their plate. An easy way to teach your child about child-portion sizes is to use visuals for example: A closed fist is recommended for a portion of pasta, rice or cereal. A meat portion should be about as big as their palm…, 5. Start the day with a healthy breakfast, Mornings can be a rush for many families, but starting the day with a balanced meal helps your child get the important nutrients – such as calcium and fibre – needed for their growth and development. Try to create breakfasts with nutrient-dense ingredients like plain yoghurt and fresh fruit instead of sweetened cereals or pastries, which tend to…, 6. Make activity fun, Children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day. Why not join in the fun? Try to plan family activities that get everyone moving such as after-dinner walks or swimming. And be spontaneous when you see an opportunity, like dancing together when a favourite song comes on the radio. It is also important to encourage your child to limit…
02 March 2022

Infant and Young Child Feeding Counselling package

Nutrition is vital to the physical growth and psychological development of infants and young children.  Good nutrition and scientific feeding can help children grow healthily, prevent disease, enhance intellectual development, and thus influence their development throughout their lives. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals propose to eliminate all forms of malnutrition by 2030. The State Council released the Evaluation plan on ‘Healthy China’(〔2019〕13), which proposes to implement the action of promoting maternal and child health, and calls that there should be active guidance for families to breed and nurture new life healthily and scientifically. The infant and young child feeding counselling is an important measure to promote appropriate nurturing, and implement the concept that parents are the first to shoulder the responsibility of children’s health. Thus, it is an important step of children’s healthcare. The healthcare workers directly face people, which makes them the main force to promote scientific infant and young children feeding knowledge. They should master accurate and authoritative knowledge, they should skillfully use appropriate techniques when counselling, so that family nurturing would be more efficient and children’s health would be improved. To this end, the Department of Maternal and Child Health of NHC and UNICEF together compiled this book, Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) Counselling: A Training Curriculum and Practical Guide for Primary Health Workers. The aim is to raise more attention from not only healthcare workers, but also the whole society, to infant and young child feeding counselling as well as appropriate children nurturing. In this way, families would be guided to raise healthy new lives scientifically, and eventually, the implementation of the Healthy China Initiative would be promoted. This book is based on the generic community based Infant and Young Child Feeding Counselling Package released by UNICEF and the World Health Organization in 2010. Many countries have adopted this package and have seen the healthcare worker’s ability of IYCF counselling obviously improved. Based on the actual conditions of China, UNICEF China introduced this package, organized the translation and compilation work in 2018, and carried out trail training and applications in Beijing, Qinghai and many other districts. It shows that short-term training can help healthcare workers grasp basic IYCF knowledge and counselling techniques quickly and accurately, which effectively promotes family feeding improvement. On this basis, we organized experts and organizations to repeatedly study and improve the book, the Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) Counselling: A Training Curriculum and Practical Guide for Primary Health Workers , before it eventually comes out. The book is divided into 15 chapters. Closely integrated with teaching, training and actual practice, this book highlights the training of basic IYCF theory, practical skills and counselling techniques to healthcare workers, helps them to grasp key knowledge and improve their counselling service. To facilitate promotion and ensure the effectiveness, this book is accompanied with counselling tools and PowerPoint slides. They are available on www.chinawch.org.cn and www.unicef.cn for free. Organization and Preparation: Department of Maternal and Child Health, National Health Commission, UNICEF China Technical Support: National Center for Women and Children’s Health, China CDC, Capital Institute of Pediatrics, Chinese Nutrition Society The photo and content in this pacakge are protected by copyright. Appendix I  IYCF Counselling Cards: 16 colorful Counselling Cards on scientific IYCF recommendations to demonstrate key concepts and behaviors. The Counselling Cards can be used by primary health workers in discussions with parents and caregivers. Appendix II Counselling Cards and Key Discussion Points/Messages: Depending on the specific situation of children and families, primary-level staff can select 2-3 priority discussions on the Counselling Cards for instruction and guidance in their work.