Monday, February 16, 2009

45 Percent of Children Aged 7-9 Years Suffer Malnutrition

The Third National Census by Sesan revealed that 209,605 children attending first grade rural schools suffer from severe or moderate malnutrition.

The Secretaría de Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutricional de la Presidencia (Sesan) reports that 45.6 percent of the 459,808 children evaluated suffer from malnutrition. 151,167 suffer moderate malnutrition and 58,438 severe.

"Girls between 8 and 9 years of age register malnutrition rates of 52 and 60 percent. Among boys of the same age range it varies between 51.4 and 57 percent.

The study showed that infants whose native language is indigenous, 181,230, had greater nutritional problems than those who speak Spanish.

To prepare the census, the country was divided into 23 geographical areas and categories of vulnerability. In Guatemala, Escuintla, and El Progreso there was a low incidence of malnutrition. In Zacapa, Izabal and Retalhuleu, moderate. And in Baja Verapaz, Jalapa, Quetzaltenango it's high. In Chimaltenango, Huehuetenango, and San Marcos it is very high.

The study was conducted nationwide August 4th to August 8th, 2008, and focused on the nutritional status of children between 7 and 9 years of age attending first grade in schools around the country.