The global economic downturn ushered in by the COVID-19 pandemic could end up killing thousands of children around the world while leaving millions more malnourished, a new study has found.
Approximately 168,000 children are “likely” to be killed by starvation before the global economy recovers, according to the new study from the Standing Together for Nutrition Consortium. The Consortium is made up of 30 different international organizations, including the World Bank, UNICEF and USAID, according to the Associated Press (AP).
In addition to the hunger-related deaths, nearly 12 million more children could suffer from severe malnutrition, which leads to wasting and stunting, the study estimates. The majority of those hurt will be in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, study lead Saskia Osendarp said.
As hunger surges during the COVID-19 pandemic, millions more in the U.S. have turned to the Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, for relief—formerly known as food stamps. https://t.co/T4qG1TgoK0
— ABC News (@ABC) December 13, 2020
Osendarp, the Executive Director of the Micronutrient Forum, claims an “entire generation is at stake,” according to the AP. She says children will be born “malnourished at birth, and these children are disadvantaged from the very start.” (RELATED: Data Shows Lockdowns Have Made Americans Significantly Less Healthy)
Global hunger was steadily declining until the coronavirus pandemic hit early this year. The number of stunted children globally had fallen from nearly 200 million to 144 million from 2000 to 2019, the AP reported. The number of children wasting reportedly dropped from 54 million to 47 million over the course of the 2010s, but the study claims it will now rise back to 2010 levels.
In the United States, the number of people who have experienced food insecurity at some point in 2020 is projected to reach up to 50 million, according to Feeding America. That number is up from 35 million pre-pandemic.