The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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Just a thought to ponder over:
With respect to child malnutrition in Iraq, most people seem to be mainly concerned with the association between malnutrition and increased mortality rates. I think its about time to highlight the great association between malnutrition (both pre and postnatal) and an increased risk and incidence of chronic disease in later life of these individuals. Both epidemiological and scientific findings demonstrate/support an increased association between perinatal malnutrition and an increase in the incidence of diabetes, ischaemic heart disease, hypertension, and many more chronic illnesses. One thing that has to be taken into account is that not only are these diseases devastating chronic illnesses for the individuals in question ( and their families), they also pose great public health obstacles as the economic costs of treatment of these diseases and their complications ( and there are many) can drain the resources of any health authority. The costs of treatment of these chronic illnesses certainly consume the majority of resources in health budgets of developed countries. If Iraqis can curtail the losses to life due to malnutrition, they still face a major public health epidemic in the next twenty years or so.
This war and the sanctions thereafter have not only greatly contributed to the increased emergence of diseases like several cancers, digestive and respiratory tract dysfunctions but will prove to be costly to a whole generation in the next few decades as the effects manifest themselves in even more metabolic syndromes. Mortality rates (this time of the mature adults) will be affected as a result.