Eliminating Pediatric Malnutrition A Call for Universal Screening
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There is an urgent need for a universal screening process to find children at nutritional risk
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MAY. 18, 2021 2 MIN. READ
By: Karyn Wulf, MD, MPH, Pediatric Medical Director at Abbott
Appropriate growth during childhood lays the foundation for a lifetime of health. While important, growth alone does not always tell the full story of a child’s health. A child may not be getting all the nutrients they need, and occasional growth screenings may not catch nutrient deficiencies until a child is malnourished. The consequences of nutrient deficiencies can include not only poor growth, but also impaired physical or cognitive development. Identifying children at risk is crucial so that dietary or nutritional interventions can be started long before growth or development issues occur.
Currently, there is no universal malnutrition screening tool used in pediatric care, and childhood malnutrition remains far too common around the world. Nearly 150 million children under 5 are stunted and 50 million are wasted, demonstrating an urgent need for a pediatric screening process to identify those who are at nutritional risk.