Nearly one in two Haitian children under 5 suffers from malnutrition, the Unicef office in Port-au-Prince said Tuesday.

In an article signed by the Unicef chief of communication in Haiti, Cornelia Walther, the U.N. Children's Fund says the malnutrition of Haitian minors is due, among other causes, to poverty, disease and poor nutritional practices.

In her article, Walther, who wrote her impressions after a trip to the northern city of Cap-Haitien, says that Haitian youngsters currently are in great need of nutritional support.

She also warns that if children do not receive sufficient nutrients during the first 1,000 days of their lives, their brains and bodies will not develop sufficiently, which will have consequences on their school work and later, on their wages, which has a "tremendous impact" on the country's gross domestic product (GDP).

She therefore says that part of the solution consists of therapeutic meals, a specific method of treating severe malnutrition with a combination of proteins, minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates and more.

For Unicef, the provision of therapeutic meals must go hand in hand with development aimed at improving food security for families in Haiti.