Childhood hunger is a global problem; children suffer from hunger in Asia, Africa, South America, Europe, and even right here in the United States. Hungry children have too few nutrients -- either from lack of secure access to food or from too much of the wrong foods -- their bodies slow down, learning is inhibited, and the likelihood of living in poverty as an adult is increased. In fact, a hungry child, just two-years old, may be permanently stunted -- both physically and mentally. It is estimated that near a billion children globally suffer from hunger. At Two Degrees, we believe it is possible to help these children.
Malnutrition is the number one killer of children under five in the developing world. Community-based Therapeutic Care (CTC) and Ready-to-Use Foods (RUF) have revolutionized how malnutrition is diagnosed and treated. Treating chronic hunger and undernourishment by providing fortified meals to children through school-based health clinics helps dramatically in the prevention of severe malnutrition. By supporting these effective methods, Two Degrees Food is helping hungry children receive the care they need to live and thrive.
Hunger and malnutrition are diagnosed using weight to height ratios for young children, aged 6 months to 5 years old. The Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) is a measurement used to gauge nutritional status during crisis situations in the absence of a weighing scale and height boards. The MUAC band pictured below depicts the color-coded measuring system.
Diagnosis with Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) Band
- Constant hunger weakens the immune system, forces the body to function with insufficient energy to support an active life, increases vulnerability to disease and infection.
- Over 200 million children suffer from chronic hunger. The vast majority of these children live in developing nations in Africa, South America and South East Asia. However, there are hungry children even here in the U.S. who struggle to find adequate nutrition on a daily basis.
- Ready-to-Use Foods (RUF) or nutrient-rich foods are used for the treatment of chronic hunger and prevention of malnutrition. These meals can be peanut-based or have other base ingredients, like lentils or chickpeas or other seeds and nuts. The goal is to provide food to children who do not have adequate or secure access to food.
Chronic Hunger or Undernourishment
- Moderate malnutrition is defined by a weight-to-height ratio and may include moderate "wasting" or "stunting", or a combination of both. If uncared for, moderate malnutrition can often progress toward severe malnutrition.
- Moderate malnutrition affects approximately 40 million children, nearly twice as many children as severe acute malnutrition.
- Ready-to-Use Supplementary Foods (RUSF) or other nutrient enriched foods are used for the treatment of moderate or chronic malnutrition. These foods are often soya-based but some have other seed, nut or grain bases as well. These foods are used to provide malnourished children with nutrient-dense, easy to digest foods.
Moderate or Chronic Malnutrition
- Severe Acute Malnutrition is defined by visible, severe "wasting", extremely low weight-to-height ratio and the presence of nutritional oedema. Severe acute malnutrition compromises the immune system and all-too-frequently results in health complications and mortality.
- Roughly 20 million children suffer from severe acute malnutrition globally; each year, over 1 million children die as a direct result of severe acute malnutrition. Even more die from related complications.
- Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF) are a revolutionary treatment for children suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM). RUTF allow for community-based management of large numbers of children who suffer from SAM. RUTF are enhanced with a medically formulated vitamin and mineral supplement and are formulated to give children calorie and nutrient-dense, therapeutic, easy-to-digest food and are certified by the World Food Program for this purpose.