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Study links malnutrition to higher pneumonia deaths

By , People Daily Digital
Monday, December 6th, 2021 14:53 | < 1 min read
A child with edema, a symptom of malnutrition. PHOTO/COURTESY

Child malnutrition increases risk of hospitalisation and death from pneumonia in low and middle-income countries, recent research
conducted by the Univer- sity of Liverpool in the UK warns.


Researchers say malnutrition increases frequency and severity of common childhood infections such as pneumonia, delays recovery and increases risk of death.

Childhood malnutrition remains wide- spread, with an estimated 6.7 per cent of children under fi e years old globally suffering from wasting and 22 per cent are stunted.


Researchers found out that moderately underweight children hospitalised with pneumonia were two times likely to die from the disease compared to those of normal weight.

The situation worsens for hospitalised children who are severely underweight.

They are four-and-a-half times like to die from pneumonia com- pared to those of normal weights.


Equally, the researchers found out that over half of all in-hospital child deaths in low to middle income countries was at- tributed to being underweight.


Comparing data from pre-2000 and post-2000 period, researchers concluded that the number of deaths remained high even with improved health status of the children across the globe.


The research study, The impact of childhood malnutrition on mortality from pneumonia: a systematic review and network meta-analysis, was published in BMJ Global Health Journal.


A recent report by the World Health Organisation noted that pneumonia ac- counts for 14 per cent of all deaths of chil- dren under fi e years old, killing 740 180 children in 2019.


Some signs of pneumonia in children include fever, cough, fatigue and chest pains.

If left untreated, death may result in few days.


Improving child nutrition is, therefore, a key aspect of the global strategy to reduce pneumonia deaths.

Prevention and treatment of all child malnutrition must maintain progress on reducing pneumonia deaths.

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