Statistics gathered in 1978 show that almost half a million children under six years of age in the South American country of Bolivia suffer from protein malnutrition.
Statistics gathered in 1978 show that almost half a million children under six years of age in the South American country of Bolivia suffer from protein malnutrition. These suffering children made up almost ten percent of the country's entire population and they are only a segment of Bolivia's underfed young people.
SYNOPSIS: Here, in the capital of La Paz, as in all parts of the country, many children have to start work early to try to make a few pesos. According to the national food and nutrition group that did last year's survey, most cases of medium to bad malnutrition are found in urban areas -- almost fifty-five thousand children, compared to forty-nine thousand such cases in country areas.
These ratios are even worse in the most severe condition -- grade three malnutrition -- which puts children under six in grave danger of becoming mentally retarded. The survey listed more than twenty-seven and a half thousand children under six in this condition. Almost twenty thousand were children from urban areas. But, nationwide, the survey showed that just under sixty percent of all infants with malnutrition lived in country areas. Here among the poorest, such as agricultural workers, income averages a meagre seventy-five dollars a year.
Figures in the survey suggest that country people, who make up almost sixty percent of Bolivia's population of five and a half million, are underfed. Nutrition experts have worked out that these rural people should be eating at least two thousand two hundred calories a day. But their studies showed that most people were getting between thirteen hundred and fifteen hundred calories -- or less than two thirds of what is needed to stay healthy and alert.
The extent and seriousness of malnutrition among the young of Bolivia is even more horrifying than the group's survey showed, because it did not include those above the age of six.