Children are malnourished if their diet does not provide adequate nutrients for growth and maintenance, or if they are unable to fully utilise the food they eat due to illness. Food security, hunger and nutrition are interconnected but not identical issues.
Hunger is the body’s way of signalling that it is running short of food and needs to eat. Sustained hunger can lead to undernutrition. Undernutrition, a form of malnutrition, includes a person being underweight for their age, too short for their age (stunted), and dangerously thin for their height (wasted). It also covers micronutrient malnutrition, a deficiency in particular vitamins and minerals. Overweight and obesity are also forms of malnutrition.
- Significant progress has been made to address malnutrition and preventable child deaths, yet one child in three (under 5) remains malnourished
- Malnutrition is linked to 45% of deaths in under 5s
Unless immediate action is taken, the Covid-19 pandemic will reverse past progress. An additional:
- 9.3million children will suffer wasting by 2022, 2.6million children
- 2.6 million children will be stunted by 2022
- 168,000 children under 5 will die of malnutrition.