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Opinion

By Dr Noel Marie Zagre & Gary Quince

Eric Turyasingura chases after a ball made from plastic bags outside his mud-brick home in the mountains of southern Uganda. Yelling in his tribal tongue, Nkore, “Arsenal with the ball! Arsenal with the ball!” he jostles with his younger brothers for possession. The fame of the English soccer club has reached even his little ears. Pretending to be a sports’ star offers a moment of escape from his daily struggles. At five years old, Eric’s tiny body already tells a story of poverty and lost opportunity. He is six inches shorter than he should be for his age. His arms and legs are pencil-thin and his head is out of proportion to his body. Because he is stunted, experts say his chances growing up healthy, learning at full potential, and getting a job, let alone play professional soccer, have been greatly diminished.