What is Malnutrition
Acute malnutrition occurs when the human body doesn’t receive the required energy to support vital organ function, cell development and tissue maintenance, and so the body begins to consume its own tissues in search of nutrients required for survival.
Acute malnutrition takes two forms: Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM) and Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM). Moderate acute malnutrition increases an individual’s risk of death by introducing deficiencies, such as anemia and scurvy, that compromise a person’s immune system, leaving them more susceptible to illness and disease. As conditions worsen, severe acute malnutrition occurs in two forms: Marasmus and Kwashiorkor. If left untreated, SAM is a deadly condition that affects an estimated 17 million children worldwide, resulting in the yearly death of 1 million children under the age of five.
The Ready-To-Use Therapeutic Foods Revolution
Severely malnourished children have trouble processing complex foods, so in 1997, Action Against Hunger developed the first ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF), Plumpy’nut, a peanut-based paste. Ready-to-use therapeutic foods are high energy, fortified, ready-to-eat foods suitable for the treatment of malnutrition that can be safely administered at home by anyone.
UNICEF and WHO. With just three packets a day for 45 days, a child’s full health can be restored.
Thanks to your support, Action Against Hunger and other organizations are able to provide lifesaving treatment to every malnourished child around the world. Check out the video below to learn more.