There’s no doubt about children being the most vulnerable segment of society. Yet, how many countries are focusing on protecting and supporting their children’s health? The Commission of over 40 child and adolescent health experts from around the world was summoned by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and The Lancet journal.
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According to the report, the poorest countries need to support and protect their children to live healthier lives. The report includes 180 countries in the index and stated that no single country is protecting their children’s health, environment or future appropriately.
Factors such as environmental degradation, climate change, and exploitative marketing practices influence the children toward processed fast food, sugary drinks, alcohol, and tobacco, the report suggests. In reference, the health and future of every child and adolescent worldwide are under the looming threat.
The commission’s Co-Chair and former Prime Minister of New Zealand- Helen Clark said, “Despite improvements in child and adolescent health over the past 20 years, progress has stalled and is set to reverse.”
Ms. Clark added, “It has been estimated that around 250 million children under the age of five in low and middle-income countries are at risk of not reaching their developmental potential, based on proxy measures of stunting and poverty.”
Where commercial pressure and climate change are the existential threats i.e., greatly concerning every child worldwide. The disproportionately emitted and excessive emissions of carbon from the wealthier countries are a threat to the future of all children.
Considering current projection, if global warming exceeds 4 degrees Celsius by the year 2100 can cause devasting health out-turn for children. Due to rising ocean levels, heatwaves, the proliferation of diseases such as malaria and dengue, and malnutrition reported commission.
In consideration of the reports, nations like Norway, the Republic of Korea, and the Netherlands ‘ children have the best chance at survival. However, the Central African Republic, Chad, Somalia, Niger, and Mali face the worst odds.
Exposure to advertisements
In the report, as many as 30,000 advertisements on television are seen by children in a single year. Commercial marketing of junk food and sugary beverages associates with the purchase of unhealthy foods which highers the risk of obesity in children.
To make sure children have a future on this planet, the commission has asked for a stop on CO2 emissions with utmost urgency.
The commission suggests children’s and adolescents’ health and future must be kept in the center of countries’ efforts to achieve sustainable development. To work toward child health and rights implementing new policies and investments in all sectors is required.
The report advised world leaders to tighten national regulation of harmful commercial marketing, supported by a new Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
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Source: The Hindu
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