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A matter of life and death

Good nutrition saves children’s lives and gives them the chance to thrive. It is critical for children to grow, develop physically and mentally, stay healthy and learn, and for their wellbeing throughout their lives. 

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.

Our priorities

Our work focuses on the critical nutrition actions that need to be taken now: 
  • Ensure no child is left behind from progress to end malnutrition for all 
  • Address the malnutrition crisis in fragile and conflict affected settings 
  • Strengthen essential health and nutrition services 
  • Promote, protect and support breastfeeding 
  • Protect and support food security, livelihoods and access to nutritious foods.

We continue to work closely with others to push for financial commitments to enable progress in these priority areas. Donors and governments alike must: 

  • Commit long term and flexible financing for nutrition 
  • Fully fund humanitarian response plans  
  • Mobilise financing for nutrition as part of ongoing COVID-19 responses .

We work closely in parallel with the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement, and the SUN Civil Society Network; hosting the secretariat for the SUN CSN.   

Our Key Reports

Nutrition Critical: Why we must all act now to tackle child malnutrition

Nutrition Critical: Why the UK must act now

Don't Push It: Why the formula milk industry must clean up its act

Youth Leaders For Nutrition: Adolescent Nutrition Advocacy

Malnutrition in Zambia:  Harnessing social protection for the most vulnerable

Nutrition Sensitivity: How agriculture can improve child nutrition

Call to Action: Gender Equality and Women's and Girls' Empowerment

Read the latest blogs on hunger

Our experts

Katherine Richards

Katherine Richards

Head of Hunger & Nutrition Policy and Advocacy

Katherine Richards is co-Head of the Hunger and Nutrition Global Policy, Advocacy and Research Team, and co-Director of the Global, Policy, Advocacy and Research Department.   Katherine has over 15 years’ experience in community, national and international development across a range of areas including nutrition, health, migration and equality, diversity and inclusion.  

Hannah Stephenson

Co-Head of Team and Senior Advisor 

Hannah leads our work on acute malnutrition (child wasting) as well as nutrition in fragile and conflict affected settings. Hannah is Co-Head of Team, and vice-chair of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Civil Society Network (CSN). Hannah brings 14 years of technical e xpertise working across community development, nutrition, humanitarian and agricultural programmes, in Asia, Latin America and Africa. 

Miski Abidi

Miski Abidi

Nutrition Advisor 


Miski supports our global advocacy work in infant and young child feeding. She has an extensive background and experience in government relations, previously working as a Public Affairs Adviser in Save the Children UK where she led the UK advocacy influencing in global health and nutrition. Prior to joining Save the Children in 2018, Miski worked for the ONE Campaign, the Overseas Development Institute and Care International UK on policy and advocacy campaigns across the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Hugh Bagnall-Oakley

Hugh Bagnall-Oakeley

Senior Advisor

Hugh leads our work on analysing individual state and government annual budgets, to determine the funding allocated to nutrition (both nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive).  Hugh has about 35 years of experience in international development.  He has worked in an advisory capacity to a number of African and Asian Ministries of Agriculture, in addition to designing, managing and evaluating projects and programmes.   

Frances Mason

Frances Mason

Senior Advisor 

Frances is a Senior Nutrition Advisor, leading work on infant and young child feeding practices and adolescent nutrition. Her previous focus was responding to humanitarian crises across Africa, South and South East Asia, the Balkans and Central Asia. She has led teams in other NGOs and worked as a consultant with the UN. She is also a member of the board of trustees at Action Against Hunger UK. 

Callum Northcote

Callum Northcote

Senior Advisor


Callum leads our work in influencing the UK Government's approach to global malnutrition, as well as focusing more broadly on global financing, accountability and policy. Callum co-chairs CSO working groups related to UK influencing and the G7, and supports the SUN CSN Youth Leader for Nutrition programme. 

Find out more