LAHORE: The prevalence of stunting among children under five years of age is highest in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s newly merged districts (KP-NMD) i.e., 48.3% followed by Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan i.e., 46.6 percent each, reveals Pakistan’s National Nutrition Survey (NNS 2018) released recently.
The national average for the prevalence of stunting in Pakistan is 40.2%. The lowest prevalence of stunting in Pakistan has been recorded in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) i.e., 32.6 %.According to the World Health Organization (WHO), stunting is the impaired growth and development that children experience from poor nutrition, repeated infection, and inadequate psychosocial stimulation.
Do you remember Prime Minister Imran Khan’s inaugural speech in August last year? He had said “I have been saying this for ages and nobody took me seriously. We are talking about 45 per cent of this nation’s children. They are not getting proper nutrition. They are not developing properly. They are automatically left behind. What must their parents go through seeing their children in such a state?”.
According to the survey, prevalence of stunting (low height for age,) is higher in young boys i.e., 40.9% than girls i.e., 39.4%.
As per the National Nutrition Survey (NNS 2018), the prevalence of wasting (low weight for height) is the highest in Sindh i.e., 23.3% while the lowest in Gilgit-Baltistan i.e., 9.4%. Similarly, the prevalence of underweight among children under five years of age is also the highest in Sindh, 41.3%, among other provinces/regions of Pakistan.
Main image: Unicef