Six-month-old Cristhofer is the youngest of two children. He lives with his family in a one-room cinderblock house in Guatemala. His mother is raising him alone, and works cooking, cleaning, and taking care of him and his siblings, as well as washing neighbors’ clothes to earn a little money. Although his mom wants the best for him, she does not have the resources to feed him even one vegetable, piece of fruit, or egg—the minimum that he needs to be able to overcome malnutrition.
When he was born, Cristhofer had to spend the first weeks of his life hospitalized for pneumonia. Since then, he has not been able to catch up to a normal weight. His mother says that he is almost always sick and never has an appetite—that is because he hasn’t had a healthy diet filled with protein, calories, and nutrients.
If he does not receive treatment, Cristhofer could face the consequences of malnutrition for the rest of his life—he could have a low IQ, trouble focusing in school, and a greater risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension as an adult. All these consequences make it less likely he will have a well-paying job as an adult, meaning the cycle of poverty and malnutrition would continue if he decides to have kids.
Growth monitoring, micronutrient and food supplementation, and deworming medication will help Cristhofer recover from malnutrition. He will gain weight and grow taller to catch up with other children his age. His immune system will grow stronger with the increased caloric intake. This will further increase his appetite and help him use the extra calories to gain motor skills and learn new words instead of those calories being wasted on getting over frequent illnesses.
His mother will receive the support she need to feel empowered to give Cristhofer the diet he needs to grow and develop healthily, even with limited resources. Intervention now will give Cristhofer the chance to live a healthy and productive life and escape the cycle of malnutrition and poverty that made him sick in the first place.