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Nigeria Is 2nd Country With Highest Stunted Children - Report

Nigeria has been ranked second in a recent report of countries with the highest number of stunted children.

The report: "Caught short" which was recently released by WaterAid, Nigeria is said to have 10,321,000 stunted under five children, behind India with 48 million.

Following Nigeria in the report is Pakistan, Indonesia and China with 9.89 million, 8.72 million and 8.04 million respectively.

WaterAid in its report said out of 132 countries surveyed 159 million under five children are stunted – at a one out of every four children ratio.

The agency also said that stunted growth in children can not only be attributed to nutrition and gene make up.

"Ask any parent what influences their child's physical and mental development and most will answer their genes, environment and the food they eat.

"But few know the impact that toilets and clean water have on children's growth and development. In the developing world, a lack of clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is a major contributor to malnutrition," the report said.

Defining stunting as children having low height for age, an indication that children have not developed as they should, physically or cognitively, the report also said that stunting is "largely" irreversible after the age of two.

"A quarter of all cases of stunting are estimated to be directly caused by chronic diarrhea in the first two years of life6 (and 88% of cases of diarrhea are caused by inadequate WASH).

"Half of all cases of under nutrition are estimated to be associated with repeated diarrhea, intestinal worms and other infections as a direct result of inadequate WASH," it said.

It also said the impact of stunting cannot be overemphasized as it affects not just the child health but also affects education the education and the economy.

In 2012, the World Health Organization estimated that 162 million children under the age of five  were stunted.

The organization also referred to stunting as one of the most significant impediments to human development globally.
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