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Infant Malnutrition

Volume 402: debated on Thursday 3 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what information she has collated on the number of children aged under five years who have died of malnutrition in each of the last five years in (a) Afghanistan, (b) Cote d'Ivoire,(c) Ethiopia, (d) Iraq, (e) Malawi, (f) Palestine and (g) Pakistan. [106530]

Malnutrition is rarely a direct cause of death in children. However, it is frequently an underlying cause, and estimates suggest it is a contributing factor in over 50 per cent. of all deaths in children under five years of age. This is because malnourished children have lowered resistance to infection, and are more likely to die from common diseases such as diarrhoea and pneumonia.Because it is normally a contributing factor rather than a direct cause, reliable figures on numbers of deaths from malnutrition are difficult to obtain, and tend not to reflect the true nature of the situation. The proportion of children under the age of five years who are underweight is generally considered a better measure on nutritional status within a particular country. National data is rarely available on an annual basis, but the most recent figures, and the total number of deaths in children under the age of five years are given in the table for the countries you have requested.

CountryPercentage of under-fives underweight (1995–2000)Under 5 mortalityrate (per 1000 livebirths), 2000
Cote d'Ivoire21173


Unicef and WDI