Introduction. According To The World Bank, United Nations

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According to the World Bank, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), and the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 23% of children in Ecuador have stunted growth and 6% are underweight (2016). Children who are malnourished, especially from the ages of 0-2 years, are at a heightened risk for long term physical, mental, and social consequences. According to Skolnik (2016), 45% of childhood deaths are related to poor nutrition (195). Nutrition is a key factor in many of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), either directly or indirectly. Ecuador is already on the right path to meet MDG 1: Eradicate Poverty and Hunger. Poor nutritional status is both a cause and a consequence of low economic
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Malnutrition can lead to a variety of deficiencies in essential vitamins and nutrients needed for a child to properly develop. In a study of nutritional status in Ecuadorian school-aged children done by Freire (2014), 25% of children are affected by zinc deficiency, 15% are vitamin A deficient, and 38% are iron deficient (1639). Malnutrition that leads to a child being underweight or overweight, weakens the individual’s body, and increases susceptibility to disease or infection. Action needs to be taken to ensure that the future leaders of communities in Ecuador are able to grow up healthy.

Populations Most Affected by Malnutrition in Ecuador All of the population of Ecuador is susceptible to malnutrition, however the most detrimental effects are seen in children. According to Freire et al. (2014), 13.1% of children with mothers who are obese or overweight had stunted growth due to malnutrition. From conception to age two, children are extremely vulnerable to stunted growth. Skolnik (2016) notes that children who exclusively breastfeed for six months are more likely to have better health outcomes than those who were not breastfed (198). Women in rural areas of Ecuador are more likely to breastfeed for longer, however in these areas there is not a proper transition to food of equal nutritional value, leading to malnutrition (Ortiz et al., 2014, 2128). During the developmental stage of life, it is essential for children to receive the
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