September 16, 2019
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 In GLIMUN2019: Infant and Child Nutrition

The need for proper nutrient intake and stable food supply is extremely crucial for all humans. Adequate nutrition,

specifically during infancy, is absolutely essential to ensure the growth, health, and development of children to their fullest

potential, both physically and mentally. Evidence from the National Center of Biotechnology Information (NCBI) shows that

adults who were malnourished in early childhood have impaired intellectual performance, are subject to reproductive issues that

could lead to abnormal children (if female), and can be prone to major illnesses, such as malaria and diarrhea. To avoid both

undernutrition and micronutrient deficiency, babies are recommended to be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life.

Following this period, they are recommended to consume a mix of breastmilk and solid food. Due to the lack of support and

education on breastfeeding in certain societies, this practice is often misused or not used at all. In addition to breastfeeding,

economic troubles also influence the rise of malnutrition throughout infants, such as the unstable supply of electricity to conserve

foods and the poor infrastructure to sustain the population of a growing society.

Roughly 10 years ago, a nationwide nutritional survey of a sample of Saudi households was selected by the multistage

probability sampling procedure. A validated questionnaire was administered to mothers of children less than 3 years of age. This

survey was one of the most informational surveys ever taken by the government of Saudi Arabia. The survey concluded that the

majority of the mothers in Saudi Arabia have not complied with the recommendations made by the WHO. Although the high

prevalence of breastfeeding initiation at birth indicates the willingness of Saudi mothers to breastfeed, the average switch to

complementary foods has occurred between the third and fifth month, rather than the recommended sixth month. The reason on

why this happens is unclear, but is most likely due to a lack of awareness on the recommended policies projected by the WHO.

Saudi Arabia is willing to put a huge amount of effort to overcome this issue. The government recognizes that these

slight social differences can have a huge positive impact on the health of the next generation of doctors, engineers, and

entrepreneurs. As of the most recent surveys, the national prevalence of under-five overweight is 6.1%. The national prevalence

of under-five stunting is 9.3%, which is less than the global average of 21.9%. Conversely, Saudi Arabia's under-five wasting

prevalence of 11.8% is greater than the global average of 7.3%. These numbers have provoked the government to take serious

action towards this issue, since these statistics have already affected the adult generations. 42.9% of women of reproductive age

have anaemia, and 17.6% of adult men have diabetes, compared to 17% of women. Meanwhile, 42.3% of women and 30.8% of

 

men have obesity. Due to the fact that the Islamic faith promotes the freedom of breastfeeding, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is

willing to cooperate with other Islamic nations to ensure the safety and growth of the succeeding generations.

The government of Saudi Arabia strongly believes that the most basic, yet most influential solution to this problem is

awareness. The educations systems of Saudi Arabia, as well as other developing countries around the world, should integrate the

recommended practices of breastfeeding as common curriculum. This can, in turn, allow for the younger generations to

understand the need for a more stable supply of nutrition for babies. This has also proven to be beneficial to the health of adults.

In addition, a fundamental guideline imposed for the infrastructure of countries can also be useful. This can allow developing

countries, like Saudi Arabia, to use their resources in an efficient manner. This guideline can be voted upon by a consensus in the

UN. In conclusion, Saudi Arabia recommends international support among developing and developed countries, to ensure the

global success and diversity for all.

 

Works Cited

 

El Mouzan, Mohammad I. "Trends in Infant Nutrition in Saudi Arabia: Compliance with WHO Recommendations." Annals of

Saudi Medicine, 20 Jan. 2009, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2813620/.

"The Importance of Infant and Young Child Feeding and Recommended Practices." World Health Organization, 2009,

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK148967/.

"Management of Severe Acute Malnutrition in Infants and Children." World Health Organization,

www.who.int/elena/titles/full_recommendations/sam_management/en/index7.html. Accessed 21 Nov. 2019.

"Saudi Arabia Nutrition Profile." Global Nutrition Report, globalnutritionreport.org/resources/nutrition-profiles/asia/western-

asia/saudi-arabia/.

"Solutions to Malnutrition: ACF's Integrated Approach." Action Against Hunger, actionagainsthunger.ca/what-is-acute-

malnutrition/solutions-to-malnutrition-acfs-integrated-approach/.

  • Saudi Arabia
  • Sriyan Madugula

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