Situación del país


Situación de la niñez

Primera Infancia (Desde la concepción-5 años)

Niñez (6 a 11 años)

Adolescencia (12 a 17 años)

Educación primaria


Early years


Early childhood is a fundamental period for human development, since it is during this phase (between gestation and the age of three) that the brain is formed and matures at maximum speed, and verbal, mental, emotional and social capacities are developed.  When children have the opportunity to have a Good Start in Life, they not only improve their possibilities of surviving, but also of developing their skills and enjoying a better quality of life, because they grow up healthy, with fewer diseases and better stimulation.

To have a better start in life, children should have good growth and development.  Growth refers to the increase in weight and size, and development to the maturing of the functioning of the brain and other vital organs.  There are various factors that influence a child’s growth and development - including maternal nutrition, birthweight, maternal breastfeeding and the child’s nutrition.

The mother’s nutrition
When the mother is shorter than 1.45 meters, her stature is considered a risk factor because her uterus may not have formed properly, and the growth and development of the fetus can be seriously affected.  According to the ENDES 2000, 13% of Peruvian women between the ages of 15 and 49 are of short stature. In urban areas this figure is lower, at 11%, while in rural areas it is 18%.

On the other hand, the ENDES 2000 indicated that 39% of pregnant women and 40% of nursing women were suffering from anemia.  Anemia increases the probabilities of maternal death from hemorrhages and perinatal and infant death; it also produces damage to the fetus’ brain and retards growth, with resulting consequences for the child’s motor, intellectual and socio-emotional development.


A baby is considered to have low birthweight when it is born weighing less than 2,500 grams, as a consequence of retardation in its intrauterine growth.  Low birthweight increases the probability of neonate mortality and predisposes the acquisition of diseases both in childhood and as adults.  In Peru, 14% of all mothers in extreme poverty have babies weighing less than 2500 grams at birth. (Source: Estado de la Niñez en el Perú. UNICEF-INEI).

Maternal Breast-feeding
Exclusive maternal breastfeeding during the first six months of life and continued through the age of two, combined with complementary feeding, has repeatedly been recommended by the World Health Organization and UNICEF as the best way to feed young children. There is no food that comes near the quality of maternal breast milk, because it provides not only the best balance of nutrients, but also fosters better nutrient absorption and protects the child against common infections.   According to the ENDES 2000, 73% of all children received exclusive maternal breastfeeding during their first four months of life, and 57% for between 4 and 5 months.  According to the ENDES continua 2004-2005 the percentage of children under four months with exclusive maternal breastfeeding is 70.4% and it is 64.5% for children under six months.

Child Nutrition
In recent years, Peru has not been able to significantly reduce the prevalence of chronic malnutrition in children under five. According to ENDES continua 2004-2005, chronic malnutrition stands at 24.1% at the national level, while in the rural areas it reaches 39% of the children under five.  Also, many children are affected by iron deficiency anemia – 46.2% among children under five at the national level and 52% in rural areas. (ENDES continua 2004- 2005).


unite for children