The Feed

Stories of Feeding God's Children Hungry in Body & Spirit

What is Stunting and Why does it Matter?

What is Stunting and Why does it Matter?

"O God, to those who have hunger, give bread, and to us who have bread, give the hunger for justice." -- Prayer from Latin America

This past April, I scooped up a baby at Real Hope for Haiti’s malnutrition clinic. Except she wasn’t a baby. She was 2 years old.

This happened over and over again as we met with partners across Haiti, distributing MannaPack™ meals and snuggling kids. A little boy we thought was 5 years old was actually 10. A little girl we thought was 4 was actually 8. And on and on it went.

If you follow Feed My Starving Children closely, you may have seen us use the word stunting. It’s not a dramatic sounding word, but stunting is a dramatic problem for millions of children around the world.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines stunting as the impaired growth and development that children experience from poor nutrition, repeated infection and inadequate psychosocial stimulation.

Children with stunting can be alarmingly small for their age. The official UNICEF standard for stunting is below minus two standard deviations from median height for age of reference population.

Stunting

But it’s not just a matter of size.

Stunting in early life -- particularly in the first 1,000 days from conception until the age of 2 – has dire consequences, according to the WHO.

Stunted children are more likely to have lower education levels and lifetime earnings, according to the World Food Programme. They also have an increased risk of chronic disease and early mortality.

UNICEF puts it in even simpler terms. Stunting is associated with an under developed brain, with long-lasting harmful consequences.

Many of the children FMSC meals reach have been affected by stunting. In fact, UNICEF estimated in 2011 that nearly 165 million children across the globe have stunting.

But nutrition allows these children to grow, thrive and develop to their full potential so that they can become productive members of their communities.

FMSC produces three special MannaPack meal formulas developed by food science and nutrition professionals to supplement nutritional needs and reduce problems with undernutrition.

haiti

MannaPack Rice

As FMSC’s first and original food formula, MannaPack Rice is an excellent source of protein, carbohydrates and key nutrients culturally acceptable worldwide for anyone over the age of 1.

MannaPack Potato-D

Created to help those suffering from diarrhea, this fortified potato and soy meal formula complements oral rehydration and assists in replenishing lost nutrients. Its smooth texture makes it appropriate for all ages, even children 6-24 months old. 

MannaPack Potato-W

This fortified potato and soy meal formula is designed specifically as a weaning food to meet the nutrition needs of children 7-12 months old. It complements breast feeding and acts as a crucial supplement for children whose mothers don’t have access to the vital nutrition their babies desperately need to grow and develop.

When you pack and fund FMSC meals, you are making more of a difference than you even realize. You are not only saving lives, you are helping provide a better quality of life for the millions of children affected by stunting.

Thank you for feeding kids. Hope truly does start with food. 

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