Almost all babies in Yemen are born underweight, according to data on childhood nutrition released today by UNICEF. The figures of 92 per cent for children born in Yemen are a stark contrast to the worldwide figures of 29 per cent over the same period between 2010-2018.
According to the UN body, globally, one in three children under the age of five are undernourished or overweight.
“If children eat poorly, they live poorly,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore, adding: “We are losing ground in the fight for healthy diets.”
Despite a significant drop in stunting in poor countries, 149 million children are today still too short for their age, a clinical condition that impairs both brain and body development.
For Yemen’s pre-schoolers the figures for stunting are especially severe, with 46 per cent affected based on data collected between 2013-2018, compared with 22 per cent globally over the same period.
Yemen was invaded by a Saudi-led coalition in March 2015 in an attempt to reverse the advancements made by the Houthi movement who has been in control of the capital Sanaa since 2014. The UN has described the situation in the country as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Last month, UNICEF also revealed that two million Yemeni children remain out of school with nearly half a million dropping out since the conflict escalated due to the coalition airstrikes.