Child Development and Public Health

The public health topic that is meaningful to me is nutrition/malnutrition. This hits me personally in a way. I have personally seen the effects of malnutrition with my own son and it is not because we were unable to feed him but because of a medical condition that interferes with his ability to hold down solid foods and has caused urological problems resulting in a stoma (appendectivesticostomy) to catheterize through to empty his bladder fully. He has intestinal pseudo-obstruction. He is 13 years old and weighs 75 pounds. We work very closely with a nutritionist to make sure we are keeping his calorie intake up and he is getting enough vitamins and minerals. We are trying to avoid a feeding tube.

I chose to look at the nutrition and malnutrition in Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). I was not expecting to see that Korea had a problem with malnutrition but after researching they have been having problems since 1995 when they were hit with a flood two consecutive years in a row, followed by droughts, typhoons, and most recently a bitter winter. These have all had an impact in food production and resulted in a food shortage. Many children are suffering also from digestive disorders caused by water being contaminated form heavy rain and flooding. I was shocked to read the U.S. in 2008 suspended its aid to North Korea and has yet to decide to resume.(Branigan, 2011) We seem to help countries with everything else but we are failing to help provide food to children in a country that is being continuously hit by natural disasters. It is sad to see children suffer no matter what country they live in and I am sure it has something to do with politics. I am not one to keep up on politics so I will leave it at that. It is just sad!

The center I work for in the past year has become part of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). This is a federal program that provides nutritious meals and snacks to children while they attend day care. They are required to meet the guidelines of the USDA.

References:

Branigan, T. (2011, October 08). North korea allows a distressing look at famine and illness. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from http://www.smh.com.au/world/north-korea-allows-a-distressing-look-at-famine-and-illness-20111007-1ldlj.html

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Our melting pot
    Nov 13, 2011 @ 22:30:43

    April,

    First, I just want to thank you for sharing your personal experience with your son!!! I have a cousin with many disabilities, and I watch my aunt and uncle struggling to care for him, and it makes me appreciate the little things even more. Sometimes we all lose sight of how great life is because we are so caught up with petty matters, but in reality, there is so much more to be thankful for!! Your efforts to properly care for your son are admirable, and he is a fortunate little boy to have such a caring mom like you!!!!
    Malnutrition is a very sensitive subject for me because it shouldn’t be an issue that a child should have to worry about. It always makes me so sad when I see or read the negative effects of malnutrition in children, and I just wish that we could do more. It’s unfortunate because malnutrition is evident worldwide, and yet the media does not expose it enough. I find that anytime I watch the news, stories about celebrities pop up more, rather than important issues like malnutrition. It just seems like society is becoming more and more superficial all the while, children around the world are starving!
    Thanks for sharing!! This was a great post!!!

    Reply

  2. shira
    Nov 27, 2011 @ 17:23:21

    April I was very moved to read your post, especially about your son and his struggles. He is so lucky to have such an understanding and loving mother. When I was reading about the Ukraine, it reminded me of my post which focused on the children of Brazil. What is so disturbing is the fact that these children not only live in poverty, but the adults around them seem to exploit them. Our country may not be perfect, but you are so right about the fact that we so many more advantages. Thank you for sharing,

    Reply

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