Feed hungry kids

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Like you, I care about children no matter where they live. I also want the most for my money. The most cost-effective way to improve child well-being and reduce child mortality is through nutritional interventions. Currently, the U.S. spends almost nothing on nutrition — less than 1 percent of foreign aid.

Poor children in less-developed countries often have a diet of only a simple starch (rice/millet) and a legume (lentils/peas), leaving them with a full belly, yet malnourished. Children with vitamin deficiencies have weakened immune systems, making simple illness much more deadly. When a child is malnourished even something as simple as diarrhea becomes 9.5 times more deadly.

What could be accomplished through simple nutritional interventions? In 2001, Tanzania began providing vitamin A supplements, reaching 90 percent of children in need, and since has reduced child mortality by half.

There is no reason for children to live short, brutish lives of misery while simple solutions go ignored. The United States needs to be a leader and pledge the full $1.35 billion over three years for UNICEF's Hunger for Growth program. This will provide relief to millions of children worldwide.

Debbie Baskin

Salt Lake City