A diet heavy on cheap, modern food like instant noodles that fills bellies but lacks key nutrients has left millions of children unhealthily thin or overweight in Southeast Asia, experts say. The Philippines, Indonesia, and malaysia have booming economies and rising standards of living, yet many working parents do not have the time, money or awareness to steer clear of food hurting their kids.
In those three nations, an average of 40 percent of children aged five and below is malnourished, higher than the global average of one in three, according to a report out Tuesday from UNICEF, the UN children's agency. Mueni Mutunga, UNICEF Asia nutrition specialist, traced the trend back to families ditching traditional diets for affordable, accessible and easy-to-prepare "modern" meals.
She told "Noodles are easy. Noodles are cheap. Noodles are quick and an easy substitute for what should have been a balanced diet”. UNICEF report said Nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, eggs, dairy, fish, and meat are disappearing from diets as the rural population moves to the cities in search of jobs.