Over 42% children stunted in Pakistan

12.6% young boys, 12.1% girls suffer from diabetes, UNICEF officials tell parliamentary force on SDGs

Haseeb Hanif February 10, 2023
Children drink water from a hand pump in a slum in Islamabad, Pakistan. PHOTO: REUTERS


The Parliamentary Task Force on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was told on Wednesday 42% of children in Pakistan are stunted while over 9.4% of boys and 9% of girls suffer from obesity.

A meeting of the parliamentary task force, held under the chairmanship of convener Romina Khurshid Alam, discussed the drive towards zero hunger as espoused by SDGs.

Committee member Dr Shazia Sobia Aslam Soomro informed the panel that no survey estimating the scale of recent food insecurity in Thar was carried out, adding there was a severe dearth of official data.

Khalid Magsi lamented that people were not paying enough attention to the problems confronting the country and added in dissatisfaction that “we are only wasting time in the assembly”.

Meanwhile, Shahida Rehmani pointed out that the inflationary trend was worsening the problems for the common man. She lamented the rampant nutrition deficiency, stressing the need to take preventive measures to keep children from abusing drugs.

UNICEF officials shared alarming statistics about the worsening malnutrition in a considerably large chunk of the populace while briefing and noted that more than 42% of children in the country were victims of stunting.

Similarly, 9.4% of boys and 9% of girls are suffering from obesity while 20.5% of young boys and 20.7% of young girls were overweight respectively.

“12.6% of young boys and 12.1% of girls suffer from diabetes,” they said, adding that baby formula milk was booming.

The committee was told that in 2014, global sales of baby formula milk were up to $44.8 billion and increased to $70.6 billion by 2019.

In Pakistan, 14.6% of 6 to 23 months olds, while 34% worldwide, babies are breastfed.

“Iron, zinc and vitamins are added to wheat. Only in Punjab, soda, energy drinks and junk food are banned around educational institutions,” they added.


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