Every year, nearly 10.9 million children under the age of 5 die from preventable causes — nearly 60 percent are from malnutrition. Malnutrition and hunger-related disease takes more lives than tuberculosis, AIDs and malaria combined. In orphanage care, nearly 85 percent of children have significant nutrition and health-related problems.
Even for children who survive malnutrition, illnesses like anemia — which some experts estimate affects more than half of children in orphan care — can have very serious consequences for a growing child.
Anemia is usually caused by a lack of iron — a mineral critical to brain development. Brain development in children under 5 is extremely accelerated, so an iron deficiency can tremendously impact long-term cognitive and emotional growth. Studies of anemic children have shown that they have lower IQs and perform more poorly in school. Iron is also very important in disease prevention and immunity. Those who are iron-deficient tend to get sick more easily and for longer periods of time.
Today, thanks to a four-year grant from a private foundation, Holt and our partner agency SPOON Foundation are combating malnutrition head on by training caregivers on improved feeding techniques, treating and monitoring children who show signs of hunger-related illness, and fighting against the leading causes of malnutrition.
At a care center in India, one of Holt’s pilot sites, the prevalence of anemia in children dropped from 45 percent to nine percent in just six months of working with SPOON.
Watch the video below to learn more about how Holt is eliminating nutrition-related issues in children through our partnership with SPOON. Or, read more about our work with SPOON here.
Then, please offer your support! We are in a tremendous position to impact the lives of thousands of children in our care, but we need your help. Give a gift to help vulnerable children have the chance to flourish.