The fight against child stunting in South Africa
The term 'Silent Hunger’ or Chronic Malnutrition is used when children have access to food but NOT to nutrients. Some would say their food is energy-rich and nutrient-poor.
Their tummies are full, but their food does not carry the nutrients necessary to enable their immune systems to flourish over the long term. When small growing children are exposed to ‘Silent Hunger’ or chronic malnutrition, they can become stunted.
The World Health Organisation explains
In 2018, globally 154.8 million children under 5 years of age suffered from child stunting. Stunting is defined by a low height-for-age showing a restriction of a child’s potential growth.
Child stunting can happen in the first 1000 days after conception and is related to many factors, including socioeconomic status, dietary intake, infections, maternal nutritional status, infectious diseases, micronutrient deficiencies and the environment.
WHO Link to boy's height-for-age growth chart
Image Source: https://za.pinterest.com/pin/309129961895475256/
The effects of this 100% preventable condition are shattering
Again, The World Health Organisation explains
"Stunted children may suffer irreversible brain damage, impeding them from reaching their complete developmental potential. They have a shorter adult height and a higher susceptibility to chronic diseases in adulthood, lower attained schooling and reduced adult income."
Image Source: https://images.app.goo.gl/q65grTMEVA75F1vf6
Driving a national commitment to a stunting-free generation by 2030
We understand why parents in poverty-stricken communities cannot supply the nutritional needs of their children. We also understand why donor agencies and feeding scheme buyers focused on feeding children in deprived communities are constrained to make better choices with their limited budgets.
The understanding of the contextual challenges should not deter us from starting to fix the school feeding safety net even when the shift to nutrient-dense meals is gradual.
For R2.88 per 50g portion (or R70.00 per month) a poor, growing child can enjoy a high protein StartWell Nutrient-dense cereal during school days. Due to our Non-Profit processing model, this cost is lower than maize-soya-sugar blends offered by large feeding organizations.
The meal exceeds the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for proteins a growing child requires. It carries a combination of animal-sourced and plant-based and proteins. The bioavailability of the dairy, whole-grain and pulse proteins are excellent.
The StartWell Nutrient-dense meal is highly palatable and desirable to children and adults of all walks of life. It comes in 5 flavours and is packed in 2kg, 5kg and 10kg re-sealable zip-lock bags.