Socio-Economic Manifestations of Hidden Hunger in Schoolchildren in Sub-Saharanafrica
Hidden hunger or micronutrient deficiency continues to bedevil developing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Cumulatively, efforts to alleviate micronutrient deficiency have not been as great as those directed towards protein-energy malnutrition and altogether less on the important age group, the school age children. There is lack of clear understanding of the relationships between hidden hunger and the more obvious socioeconomic conditions. Good education is regarded as the window of opportunity to break the vicious cycle of poverty. Poverty eradication programmes have often been contextually delinked from nutrition interventions and education provision and as a result, nutrition interventions have focused much less on the school child.For all intentions, nutritional interventions targeted at pregnancy, infancy and early childhood, as is the status quo, are all proactive approaches intended to produce better outcomes in the long term. Perhaps it is important to have a holistic approach that includes school children in nutritional interventions in sub-Saharan Africa. This study therefore sought to uncover the problem of hidden hunger among school children and illuminate on the linkages between this problem, educational achievement and the socioeconomic conditions prevailing in Sub-Saharan Africa. This was done by reviewing published literature accessed through the internet. Almost all studies exploring micronutrient malnutrition among school children show that it is a big problem in Sub-Saharan Africa which has received little attention. Deficiencies of Iron, Zinc and vitamin A, nutrients which affect immensely the health and well-being of school children, are commonplace in Sub-Saharan Africa, and individual nutrient deficiencies often interact to disrupt educational progress of the children and dampen their future socioeconomic prospects. This could partly be explained by high levels of school dropouts and inadequate foundational skills attained by children upon completion of primary school. It is therefore recommended that Sub-Saharan African countries strengthen schoolchild micronutrient nutrition efforts in conjunction with education provision and poverty alleviation.
Socio-Economic Manifestations of Hidden Hunger in Schoolchildren in Sub-Saharanafrica, International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences.
Vol. 2, No. 1,
2013, pp. 17-23.
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