A child's first and instinctive reaction to lack of food - that is, to lack of energy intake - is to reduce energy output. And by conserving health and growth at the expense of activity, the child can even maintain a normal appearance. A European child may spend up to two-and-a-half times as much energy on walking and running as a child in a malnourished community in Africa. The reduced activity of the malnourished child comes at an age when play and exploration of the environment is particularly important to the development of physical and mental skills.
In 1984 the average estimated energy output for an African child was 79 units compared with 98 units for a European child (Unit = Kcal/Kg bodyweight/day). One study in Mexico has shown that by the age of three years, a group of malnourished children were already one year behind their well-nourished contemporaries in language development.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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