Research points to $125bn global economic cost of malnourishment

from the Financial Times..

May 28, 2013, By Helen Warrell in London

Afghan mother Gul Mamat holds her child Ziaudin, who is suffering from malnutrition at the Gandhi hospital in Kabul on September 27 2011

Being malnourished in the womb causes deficiencies in cognitive development that will reduce a child’s future earning potential by 20 per cent and is projected to cost the global economy $125bn by 2030, a leading charity has warned.

Research by Save the Children on infants in EthiopiaIndiaPeru and Vietnam has found that those who do not receive the necessary nutrients in the first 1,000 days of life – from conception until their second birthday – suffer from developmental brain deficiencies that hold back their learning ability regardless of the quality of their schooling. Unless treated, the charity says, this risks causing a serious “brake” on progress in emerging economies.

According to the study, which monitored 3,000 children, those who were malnourished scored 7 per cent lower on maths tests and were 19 per cent less likely to be able to read a simple sentence by the time they were eight, compared with their non-malnourished peers. They were also 12 per cent less likely to be able to write a simple sentence and 13 per cent less likely to be in the appropriate grade for their age at school.

The long-term result of these educational difficulties is an estimated 20 per cent drop in future earning potential, which will translate into a $125bn loss to the global economy by the time these children reach adulthood….

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