Wednesday, September 18, 2013

HAITI :: The Case for Nutrition

Providing a constant source of nutrition is critical for a child’s development. 

This comes as no big surprise in 2013.

Article after article and study after study confirms that nutrition is directly linked to all aspects of a child’s growth and development, factors that have direct ties to their level of health as adults. We all know that vitamin rich food helps children fight off colds and other illnesses, keeping them healthier longer. It is common knowledge that establishing nutritious eating habits as a child sets the foundation for healthy choices as an adult.

These are such widely accepted concepts in developed countries, but so challenging to implement in Haiti. Dire poverty, lack of environmental resources for farming and high food prices are just a few of the numerous obstacles contributing to childhood malnutrition in developing countries.

According to Dr. Charlotte G. Neumann (UCLA School of Public Health):
“The combination of malnutrition and infection is the leading cause of death among young children in developing countries. Malnutrition alone is estimated to account for over half of children’s deaths annually. Other leading causes of deaths are malaria, acute respiratory infections, diarrheal disease [cholera], tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, frequently complicated by varying degrees of malnutrition.” 

What are we doing about it? 
Everything we can thanks to your continued support.

Oxilus, a St. Vincent's student, enjoying a meal
During each trip, we hand-carry food and snacks to St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children. We prepare meals with the children and staff in their kitchen that often exceeds 110 degrees. When we take St. Vincent’s students to Camp Jake—our annual summer camp for children with disabilities in Haiti—we provide 3 nutritious meals every day for every camper. We teach nutrition classes at camp and work with campers to make healthy choices whenever possible. We teach trades so the children can better support themselves as adults and they are able to purchase healthy food for their families.

That’s what we’re doing about it. We hope you will continue helping us bring food to these precious kids. Donations can be made through our website. Thank you!

Sources: Children’s Heart Center, UCLA School of Public Health / Charlotte G. Neumann, MD, MPH

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