At least 95 children less than 5 years old have died in Guatemala from acute malnutrition so far this year, according to the Epidemiology Department of the Public Health and Social Assistance Ministry.

A report by the ministry published Saturday in the local press said the deaths occurred between January and August 2012.

The nutritional census taken by authorities showed that 95 children had died from causes associated with acute malnutrition and another 7,926 also suffered from that condition.

According to the report, out of the total number of fatalities among toddlers, 16 were in the western province of Quetzaltenango, 11 in the northern province of Baja Verapaz and eight in the northwestern province of Huehuetenango, while the remainder were in other regions of the nation's interior.

During 2011, Guatemala had 125 deaths from malnutrition, more than the 105 in 2010, but fewer than the 160 in 2009, according to official statistics.

The report states that most of the youngsters suffering from malnutrition lived in the southern province of Escuintla, which had 1,022 casos, in the eastern province of Chiquimula where 836 were detected, and in the northwestern province of San Marcos with 613.

The government of President Otto Perez Molina, who began his four-year term in office on Jan. 14, is promoting the "zero hunger" program, with which he is attempting during his administration to reduce by 10 percent the incidence of malnutrition, which currently affects one out of every two children. EFE