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The Catalan Society of Paediatrics denies that children in Catalonia suffer from food deprivation due to economic reasons

Last week, the Catalan Ombudsman issued a report stating that 4% of children in Catalonia under the age of 16 suffer from food deprivation (50,000 children) and he linked it to the current economic crisis. The Primary Care section of the Catalan Society of Paediatrics refutes the Ombudsman’s report warning that the known cases of undernourished children in Catalonia are due to illness and not to financial problems. They stated there are 750 children with food deprivation and most of whom have chronic diseases that cause malnutrition, such as metabolic disorders, neoplasia or anorexia nervosa. They emphasise that nowadays it is incorrect to talk about children with food deprivation in Catalonia for economic reasons, but they are concerned about the future.

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12 August 2013 09:40 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- The Primary Care section of the Catalan Society of Paediatrics stated on Monday that figures released a week ago by the Catalan Ombudsman, Rafael Ribó, claiming that Catalonia suffers from a food deprivation crisis among children, are in fact incorrect. Last week’s report highlighted that there are “tens of thousands” of children who do not eat a sufficient amount or have a balanced diet. It was declared that 50,000 children in Catalonia, 4% of the total child population, currently suffer from food deprivation, linking it to the current economic crisis. However, the Catalan Society of Paediatrics has stated that there are in fact 750 children in Catalonia with food deprivation and they have chronic diseases that cause this effect, such as metabolic disorders neoplasia and anorexia nervosa.


A differentiation between undernourishment and malnutrition

The Paediatricians have also warned that there must be a differentiation between undernourishment and malnutrition. Undernourishment, they say, is a lack of nutrients, both caused by the amount of food intake and due to absorption problems; while malnutrition is caused due to an unbalanced diet including excess consumption. In this respect, they noted how more than 28% of children in Catalonia suffer from malnutrition due to excess consumption and being overweight or obese.

The food deprivation of children in Catalonia is due to health problems

The Catalan Ombudsman’s report stated that while Catalonia did not have a structural problem with regards to child undernourishment, he stated there were 50,000 children with food deprivation and he linked it to the current economic crisis. However, the Catalan Society of Paediatrics highlighted how the figures were not due to the crisis, but instead because of the diseases that cause malnutrition as well as obesity problems.

The Catalan Society of Paediatrics is concerned about the future

Nonetheless, the medical association has certified that they are increasingly finding cases of families that are having their daily lives affected by the economic crisis. These families have had to give up extracurricular activities and are not able to have vaccines that are not funded. In spite of this, the Catalan Society of Paediatrics emphasised that they are not deprived of basic foodstuffs. This statement conflicts with the Ombudsman’s report. The paediatricians conclude that one cannot say that children in Catalonia are undernourished due to financial reasons. However, they are concerned about what may occur in the not to distant future.

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  • A school canteen in the Catalan Province of Tarragona (by R. Segura)

  • A school canteen in the Catalan Province of Tarragona (by R. Segura)