Children who suffer from stunting are too short for their age. Their brains do not receive nutrition at the most critical stages of growth, resulting in impaired development.
The failure to receive adequate nutrition over a long period of time and is worsened by
recurrent and chronic illness.
In many aspects, the effect of stunting is irreversible beyond the second year of a child’s life. It has long-lasting consequences, such as diminished mental ability and learning capacity that lead to poor school performance.
In Bangladesh, nutritional challenges can begin from the moment of conception to birth outcome. The cycle continues with low birth weight, limited access to quality foods, and poor feeding or dietary practices.
Bangladesh has reduced childhood stunting, but the Average Annual Rate of reduction of stunting is at a slower rate from 2007 to 2014. Wasting, which is having low weight for height, has barely declined since 2007.
Wasting rates in Bangladesh are classified as high, while stunting and underweight are considered very high, according to WHO thresholds.
Mothers’ education, besides social and wealth status, has a significant connection to children’s nutrition, according to a 2013 survey by UNICEF. Access to safe water and sanitation are basic determinants of better nutrition.
Children living in slums are always at high risk of undernutrition also because of lack of access to safe water. Children from households with unimproved drinking water sources are significantly more at risk.
In these households, 57 per cent of children were found to be stunted, wasted or underweight, compared to 31 per cent from households with improved drinking water sources.
Bangladesh, due to the effects of climate change, is prone to more frequent and devastating natural disasters. In the aftermath of floods or cyclones, more and more young children fall prey to undernutrition and infectious diseases.