Stunting (low height for age, also referred to as chronic malnutrition), is of a particular concern for Eastern and Southern Africa.
26 million, or close to 40 percent of children under five years of age are suffering from it.
In addition, 15 per cent of under-fives are underweight (they weigh too little for their age); and 6 percent are suffering from acute malnutrition (also called wasting, meaning that they rapidly lose weight because of illness or lack of food).
Unlike underweight and wasting, stunting is largely irreversible, and it is affecting more children than the first two conditions combined in the region.
There are many factors contributing to malnutrition. One of the most significant is the low rate of exclusive breastfeeding from birth to six months of a child’s life.
In ESA, less than half of infants are being exclusively breastfed in that crucial period of first six months.
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