Thousands of children malnourished

Herald on Sunday 11 Feb 07
More than 5000 children under the age of 2 admitted to Auckland’s Starship Children’s Hospital each year are severely malnourished, says a leading paediatrician. Dr Cameron Grant, associate professor of paediatrics at Starship Hospital and lecturer at Auckland University, has begun a pilot project on early childhood healthcare, looking into micronutrient deficiencies and malnutrition in children under 2. His findings follow National Leader John Key’s appeal to help the 80,000 hungry schoolchildren in Auckland and his Food in Schools project, which Education Minister Steve Maharey has dismissed as “Tory charity”.The collaborative project with Starship, Auckland University and Tamaki Primary Health Organisation, shows that one-quarter of Auckland children aged 6-23 months are iron-deficient and New Zealand children are two to 10 times more likely to be hospitalised with pneumonia than those from other developed countries. The study also shows diseases from micronutrient deficiencies are more common among Maori and Pacific Island children from lower socio-economic households.