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Global Nutrition Report, 2018

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  •  According to recently released Global Nutrition Report, India is facing a major malnutrition crisis as it holds almost a third of the world's burden for stunting.

Important highlights:

  • Stunting declined from 32.6% of all the world’s children under 5 years of age in 2000 to 22.2% in 2017. In numbers this is a decline from 198.4 million to 150.8 million
  • Stunting among children in Asia has declined from 38.1% to 23.2% since 2000 and in Latin America and the Caribbean from 16.9% to 9.6%.
  • Stunting among children in Africa has decreased in percentage terms from 38.3% to 30.3% over the same period, yet due to population growth, the actual number of stunted children has risen. The use of geospatial data shows that trends in stunting vary significantly within countries, with some areas experiencing increases and other areas declines.
  • Several countries are on course to meet at least one of the globally adopted nutrition targets set for 2025, but most are off-track, and none are making progress on the full suite of targets.
  • Of the 141 countries with consistent data on three forms of malnutrition – childhood stunting, anaemia in women of reproductive age and overweight among women – 88% (124 countries) experience a high level of at least two types of malnutrition, with 29% (41 countries) experiencing high levels of all three. Most of these 41 countries (30) are in Africa. Coexisting burdens bear down on millions of children, with 15.95 million children affected by wasting and stunting, which increases the risk of child mortality, and 8.23 million children affected by stunting and overweight.
  • Healthy diet policies and programmes are proving effective in countries, cities and communities but overall there is inadequate delivery of a holistic package of actions. The World Health Organization Global database on the Implementation of Nutrition Action (GINA) includes more than 1,000 national policies in 191 countries in support of healthy diets.
  • The world is paying more attention to the importance of improving nutrition among adolescents, but their diets warrant greater focus. Adolescent girls remain particularly vulnerable to malnutrition during this stage of the lifecycle due to higher iron needs, early marriages which can lead to early pregnancies, and increased susceptibility to obesity.


  • Malnutrition is a universal issue holding back development with unacceptable human consequences. Yet the opportunity to end malnutrition has never been greater. The UN Decade of Action on Nutrition 2016–2025 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide global and national impetus to address malnutrition and expedite progress.
  • The burden of malnutrition across the world remains unacceptably high, and progress unacceptably slow. Malnutrition is responsible for more ill health than any other cause. Children under five years of age face multiple burdens: 150.8 million are stunted, 50.5 million are wasted and 38.3 million are overweight. Meanwhile 20 million babies are born of low birth weight each year. Overweight and obesity among adults are at record levels with 38.9% of adults overweight or obese, stretching from Africa to North America, and increasing among adolescents. Women have a higher burden than men when it comes to certain forms of malnutrition: one third of all women of reproductive age have anaemia and women have a higher prevalence of obesity than men. Millions of women are still underweight.

Vishal Thakur By - Vishal Thakur
Posted On - 12/20/2018 12:00:00 AM

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