These 2 Boys Were Born The Same Day In The Same Town, But Their Lives Will Be Dramatically Different
ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar -- Miranto is 5 years old. He proudly wears his school uniform, a blue smock, along with Mickey Mouse sneakers and a tilted baseball cap. He's been in school for two years, where he's on track and has made dozens of friends. Sitraka is a head shorter than Miranto and looks about half his age. He's not wearing any shoes, and his tiny T-shirt reads "Special Baby Boy." He's still learning to speak and has trouble sitting or standing still for any length of time, which means he can't go to school and has trouble making new friends. Both boys were born in the village of Ambohimidasy Itaosy, about an hour by car outside Madagascar’s capital city of Antananarivo. They were born on the very same day. But their young lives have diverged already due to a significant difference in the nutrition they received during their first 1,000 days of life, from conception to their second birthday. Whether a child consumes a variety of foods with a diverse range of nutrients can determine much about that child's long-term prospects. While Miranto's family fed him a variety of high-nutrient foods, Sitraka's family was too poor to do the same. Malnourishment has irreversibly harmed the growth of his body and his brain. What Sitraka suffers from now is called chronic malnutrition, or "stunting." Like him, most chronically malnourished children are shorter than their healthier peers. Their immune systems are weaker, leaving them more suscept...
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