What Cannot be Controlled and What Can be Controlled to Solve Chronic Child Malnutrition in Guatemala

What Cannot be Controlled (out of the hands of people in Guatemala, just like it is, or would be, out of the hands of people in the U.S.) –

  • Corrupt government. Power attracts corruption like moths to a bright light. Ew. No matter how gross this is, it’s a reality and overall it exacerbates problems for the “folks” lower on the power ladder. The economy and jobs is one example.
  • Underdeveloped economy. An underdeveloped economy makes it extremely challenging to find a formal job. Having a formal job means that you can plan a month or a year ahead instead of just working to live through today or tomorrow. Formal jobs require the right environment. They reduce poverty and increase opportunity.

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What Can be Controlled (within in reach of families in Guatemala, similar to families in the U.S.) –

  • Food choices. The problem is not food supply, but food choice! The choices that are being made within the family are unfortunately helping to sustain high chronic child malnutrition rates. People in Guatemala eat processed foods because it is “a sign of being in a developed country”. This perspective needs to change and slowly is under the Pacto Hambre Cero/La Ventana de los Mil Días.
  • Family planning. A nutritionist told us that it is basically impossible to adequately implement the 10 interventions of La Ventana de los Mil Días because many young mothers living in poor, rural communities do not know when they are pregnant. Nor is it common that they share their pregnancy with healthcare providers. Woah! This unawareness and absenteeism greatly shortens the “window of opportunity” that can make all the difference in a child’s life. 

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Photos from Explorers in Guatemala.
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