40 percent children stunted, 2.5 million acutely malnourished in Pakistan: WHO
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 40 percent of children under the age of five in Pakistan are stunted, while 2.5 million children are acutely malnourished.
Pakistan was one of the first countries to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to reduce stunting by 40 percent and keep childhood wasting below 5 percent. However, little progress has been made towards achieving these goals.
Dr Palitha Mahipala, WHO’s representative to Pakistan said during a conference that about 6-8 percent of school-going children under 10 years of age are obese or overweight due to sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet.
“Our lifestyle has changed in recent years and because of this we are seeing more and more non-communicable diseases,” he said.
Addressing the 3rd International Lifestyle Medical Conference 2022 organized by Rafah International University, Dr Palitha Mahipala said that there was a need to promote physical activity and other healthy lifestyle practices to reduce the burden of disease in Pakistan.
Referring to WHO’s global report on physical activity, he said that if governments do not take immediate steps to encourage more physical activity among the populations, by the end of 2030, about 500 million people will suffer from heart disease, obesity, diabetes, or other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) caused by physical inactivity, costing $27 billion annually.
Globally, 55 million deaths occur annually, of which 41 million or 70 percent are due to non-communicable diseases, which are actually lifestyle diseases.
He added that nearly 50 percent of women in Pakistan are either obese or overweight while the rest face problems such as malnutrition.