Putting malnutrition in context
Around 45 percent of deaths among children under 5 years old are linked to undernutrition—which can include wasting, stunting, being underweight, and suffering from deficiencies in vitamins and minerals. These deaths mostly occur in low- and middle-income countries. We can help prevent more children from dying if we change the way food aid is delivered.
When children suffer from acute malnutrition, their immune systems are so impaired that they become more vulnerable to other diseases. Malnutrition is one of the single greatest threats to global public health.
The critical age for malnutrition is from six months—when mothers generally start supplementing breast milk—to 24 months. However, children under five, adolescents, pregnant or breastfeeding women, the elderly, and the chronically ill are also vulnerable.
People become malnourished if they are unable to take in enough or fully utilize the food they eat, due to illnesses such as diarrhea or other longstanding illnesses, such as measles, HIV, and tuberculosis.
We estimate that only three percent of the 20 million children suffering from severe acute malnutrition receive the lifesaving treatment they need.