Helplessinfants are dying every minute in developing countries. Infants need attention,care, and most importantly nutritious food. Babies are unable to get their ownfood, take care of themselves, or tell you what they want or need. Childrenaround the age of two months to one year are considered infants. About half ofthe world’s population is affected from undernutrition and micronutrientdeficiencies.
(Ahmedand others 2012) There are many causes ofundernutrition in pregnant women, but they almost all relate back to oneoverlying problem- gender inequality. It is still crazy to think there is notequality among all people in this day’s society. In developing countries, womenare constantly falling behind men in health care, having access to food, andeducation. (Ahmedand others 2012) Women in developing countries dojust as much work, if not more, than the men. Females should have the right tofood just as men do.
- Thesis Statement
- Structure and Outline
- Voice and Grammar
The same right goes to infants as well. Infant girls arepredestined to have a rough time getting the nutrients they need from day one. Undernutrition is a vicious cycle,once undernourished, it is unlikely that women will improve their eatinghabits. With that being said, infant girls that suffer from undernutrition frombirth will most likely continue to suffer from undernutrition throughout theentirety of their lives.
Not only is it important for infants to get enoughnutrients, it is also important to give adolescent girls plenty of nutrientpacked food. In developing countries, marriage usually happens around agesixteen and conception happens shortly after marriage. (Ahmedand others 2012) Pregnancy is an extremelyimportant time to nourish the fetus. The most intricate, important developmenthappens in utero.
Undernourished women may not gain enough weight duringpregnancy, which in turn leads to a greater chance of mortality than theirhealthy counterparts. (Ahmedand others 2012) Undernourished fetuses grow up to beundernourished children and undernourished adults. Undernutrition is handeddown from generation to generation because there are not changes made to theirnutrition over their lifetimes. (Ahmedand others 2012) It is a cycle that needs to bebroken before birth or shortly after to improve the lives of generations tocome. Low birth weight sets the infant upfor a life full of struggles. If a child experiences low birth weight withintheir first two years of life, they may become shorter adults, have lowerattendance rates in school, and reduced income as working adults. (Ahmedand others 2012) There are many other healthrelated risks throughout the infant’s life if he or she was born at low birthweight; some of these risks include higher risk for hypertension, diabetes, andcoronary heart disease. In many cases, low birth weight could be prevented byproviding better nutrition to the mother during pregnancy.
Essential fatty acids cannot bemade by the human body; therefore, we must take them in through our diet.Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are two of the most important essential fatty acidsto get out of our diet because they bring in alpha-linolenic acid and linolenicacid. These two acids are essential in the development of the brain and retina,especially in unborn and young infants. (Huffmanand others 2011) For infants, the main place theyget alpha-linolenic acid and docosahexaenoic acid is from their mother’sbreastmilk.
The best way to feed an infant for at least the first six months oftheir life is just breastfeeding. (Ssemukasaand Kearney 2014) Breastfeeding can prevent up to13% of deaths of children under the age of five. (Ahmedand others 2012) Breastmilk has many nutrients forgrowing infants that other foods cannot provide. These nutrients promotehealthy growth and increased development of their immune systems.
(Ssemukasaand Kearney 2014) After the first six months of exclusive breastfeeding, mothers can introducenutrition packed foods while continuing breastfeeding up to age two. (Ssemukasaand Kearney 2014) Breastfeeding and complimentaryfeeding after six months help to promote adequate intakes of essential fattyacids and docosahexaenoic acid in developing countries. (Huffmanand others 2011) It is not morally acceptable thatthere is plenty of food in this world, but people are still starving. The factthat all humans do not have the same access to food is heartbreaking. We feedmore food to animals than we do to the poor in developing countries.
Manypeople in developing countries are extremely hard working, but still do notmake enough money to provide food to their families. Why do we not giveeveryone access to nutritional food? We as a society are a highly innovatedgroup of individuals who can get anything done when we work together and wantto fix a problem. Dying, undernourished infants are a problem. These childrenare our future. We are killing off our future from the very start of theirlives.
All people have a right to food, and we need to work together to make itaccessible to all people. While there is no one simple fix toundernutrition of mothers and their infants, there can be a start to help fewerinfants face mortality. Breastfeeding promotion, increasing access tonutritious food, and promoting healthy weight gain for pregnant women can allhelp this situation.
Starting in 1967, the United States developed a fortifiedblended food that contained high protein and micronutrients. (Perez-Expositoand Klein 2009) Food aid from the U.S.
has savedmillions of lives already. As a society, we can continue to help developingcountries get the information they need to have happy, healthy babies alongwith happy, healthy mothers.