Mother, Infant and Young Child Nutrition & Malnutrition - Feeding practices including micronutrient deficiencies prevention, control of wasting, stunting and underweight Mother, Infant and Young Child Nutrition & Malnutrition
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Mother, Infant and Young Child
Nutrition and Malnutrition

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Many of the things we need can wait.

The fight against persistent underweight, stunting and wasting among children in developing countries is based on appropriate maternal, infant and young child feeding practices including micronutrient deficiencies prevention and control. However, wasted children are those at immediate risk of dying and will need timely detection and correct management for their survival.

More than half of all child deaths are associated with malnutrition, which weakens the body's resistance to illness. Poor diet, frequent illness, and inadequate or inattentive care of young children can lead to malnutrition.

If a woman is malnourished during pregnancy, or if her child is malnourished during the first two years of life, the child's physical and mental growth and development may be slowed. This cannot be made up when the child is older – it will affect the child for the rest of his or her life.

Children have the right to a caring, protective environment and to nutritious food and basic health care to protect them from illness and promote growth and development.

Hunger: What You Need to Know - Ever wonder why hundreds of millions of people go hungry?

Infographic: Understanding Hunger and Malnutrition

Infographic: Understanding Hunger and Malnutrition
Undernourishment or chronic hunger is the inability of persons to consume enough food sufficient to meet dietary energy requirements.
download pdf

Malnutrition is an abnormal physiological condition caused by deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in energy, protein and/or other nutrients. Undernutrition is when the body contains lower than normal amounts of one or more nutrients i.e. deficiencies in macronutrients and/or micronutrients. The most pervasive form of malnutrition to date in the poorest countries is undernutrition.

Key facts - WHO Infant and young child feeding Fact sheet - updated July 2013
  • Every infant and child has the right to good nutrition according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

  • Undernutrition is associated with 45% of child deaths.

  • Globally, 165 million children under five are estimated to be stunted and more than 100 million have low weight-for-height, mostly as a consequence of poor feeding and repeated infections; 43 million are overweight or obese.

  • About 38% of infants 0 to 6 months old are exclusively breastfed.

  • Few children receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods; in many countries only a third of breastfed infants 6–23 months of age meet the criteria of dietary diversity and feeding frequency that are appropriate for their age.

  • About 220 000 child lives could be saved every year with promotion of optimal breastfeeding and appropriate complementary feeding, and the provision of supplements in food-insecure populations.

On this site you will find comprehensive information, resources, tools and videos:

For the Whole Community

  • Healthy Nutrition
    Contains practical and easy-to-understand information about the principles of healthy nutrition.
  • Malnutrition
    Contains a simple explanation about malnutrition and an overview about the malnutrition situation in India and Maharashtra for the general public.
  • Nutrition in the Context of HIV/AIDS
    The HIV pandemic and the risk of mother to child transmission of HIV through breastfeeding pose unique challenges to promotion of breastfeeding. It is important to promote HIV Individual counselling and Testing among all pregnant and lactating women.

For Practitioners and Program Managers

  • Protection, Promotion and Support of Healthy Maternal, Infant and Young Child Feeding
    This section looks at healthy nutrition from a programmatic point of view. It includes links with high impact nutrition interventions and an introduction on the ENA approach to support planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of high-impact nutrition interventions.
  • Early Detection and Referral of Children with Malnutrition
    Looks at feasible ways to timely detect and refer children with malnutrition from primary health care units and communities. It is intended to increase coverage through active case finding and referral of children with malnutrition at all contact points before the onset of life threatening complications.
  • Management of Child Malnutrition
    Looks at the severely malnourished, with an in-patient outline based on WHO standards and updates from Professor Michael Golden and an out-patient outline based mainly on the Community-based Therapeutic Care (CTC) Field Manual by the CTC Research and Development program (collaboration between Valid International and Concern Worldwide).
  • Information Management Systems
    Provides insights on key indicators and means of verification.

Featured Videos

Undernutrition: understanding the context. A participatory film from Satkhira District, Bangladesh

Audience: policy makers, civil society, academics, district leaders, communities and development partners. - Length: 23 mins
Download one-page briefing page

This film is a snapshot of undernutrition in Satkhira, but it also carries a common message for districts throughout Bangladesh which suffer from a high burden of undernutrition. The causes and consequences of undernutrition are many and they require people to work together to develop sustainable solutions that work – from the community level to the highest political levels.

This film is a call to action for partnership and effective collaboration. There is an urgent need to build a wide-scale and genuinely shared understanding of the nutrition problem, its consequences and ways to tackle it, so that children can live happy, healthy and prosperous lives. If they can reach their full potential, Bangladesh can reach its full potential.

It presents community voices to highlight the multidimensional context of undernutrition which requires multisectoral collaborative responses to address persisting challenges. It is intended for advocacy use at national and sub-national levels here in Bangladesh, but it may also be of interest to other countries which are also working to put nutrition higher up on the development agenda.

in Bangla
The Girl Declaration

Girls have the power to stop poverty before it starts.

The Girl Declaration was created to make sure their needs are prioritised in the post-2015 development agenda.

The Power of 1,000 Days

The 1,000 days between a woman's pregnancy and her child's 2nd birthday offer a unique window of opportunity to shape healthier and more prosperous futures.

Many thanks to the following partners and individuals for contributing photos to our project: Bread for the World, Feed the Future, the Gates Foundation, GAIN, Charles Pieters, PEPFAR, United Nations, USAID, and the World Bank.

How can 1,000 Days Shape a Child's Future?

Simple hand-drawn images are layered on top of each other to create this lovely awareness video about nutrition. Future Fortified is an organization that helps millions of women and children attain access to vital nutrients. They have developed nutrient packs that are produced by local, regional and national companies. Which in turn give easy, affordable access to those in need. The first 1,000 days of a child's life, starting at when they are in the womb, is crucial. Through this video, the beautiful images portray a story of that process and how important nutrients can be for growth and development.

Child Malnutrition - What? How? And when to Refer..

A detailed animation describing Child Malnutrition, focusing on the types, causes, signs and when a health worker should refer.

The animation highlights how to measure mid upper arm circumference, and spot other signs of malnutrition.

Worldwide, malnutrition affects one in three people and each of its major forms dwarfs most other diseases globally.

The Debate - Nutrition - UNICEF Office of Research Innocenti

Millions of children still malnourished. More than a century of expertise, and ask: 'why, & what are the solutions'.

In this Debate: Dr David Nabarro, Professor Lawrence Haddad, Professor Andrew Tomkins, Dr Purnima Menon, and Dr Anna Lartey.

time: 23:41

Raising Awareness About Nutrition

UNICEF and the European Union joining forces with the Government of the Lao People's Democratic Republic to fight malnutrition.

Featured Resources — All Resources

10 Years of the Right to Adequate Food Guidelines - Progress, Obstacles and the Way Ahead

10 Years of the Right to Adequate Food Guidelines - Progress, Obstacles and the Way AheadCivil Society Synthesis Paper for the 41st Session of the UN Committee on World Food Security
This paper is a product of a broad civil society consultation process, facilitated by the Global Network for the Right to Food and Nutrition, with the political support of the member organizations of the Civil Society Mechanism to the Committee on World Food Security.

Ten years ago, in November 2004, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) adopted the Voluntary Guidelines to support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security (RtAF Guidelines). Initiated by civil society, negotiated in a collaborative process, and unanimously adopted by all FAO member states, the RtAF Guidelines represented hope for a greater consensus on what was needed to make the human right to adequate food and nutrition a reality for people on the ground. Indeed, by delineating clear steps on how states could implement the right to food, and further still how to take a holistic approach – one that recognizes the importance of legal entitlements, policy coherence, and participation of rights holders – the RtAF Guidelines were set to reshape food system governance.   >   Download the Guidelines

Right to Food and Nutrition Watch 2014

Right to Food and Nutrition Watch 2014Ten Years of the Right to Food Guidelines: Gains, Concerns and Struggles
New report calls for more democaratic food systems
8 October 2014 - Food security and human rights remain deeply threatened by concentration of land ownership, corporate domination of food systems and policy incoherence, reports the Right to Food and Nutrition Watch 2014, officially launched today with the participation of the new UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food, Dr. Hilal Elver, at the FAO in Rome.

"As we celebrate the progress made over the past decade, it is important to keep in mind that we will have to work even harder to realize the right to food in order that hunger and malnutrition no longer afflict humanity", Dr. Elver cautioned on the occasion of the ten-year anniversary of the Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security.   >   Download the Right to Food and Nutrition Watch 2014 - reliable health information in Arabic brings to you, high quality, reliable health information in the Arabic language, through our syndicated partnership with NHS Choices. Our engaging, patient focused articles and interactive tools provide an invaluable, trusted health resource for you and your family.

يقدم لك دكتوري معلومات صحية ذات جودة عالية وموثوقة باللغة العربية من خلال شراكتنا في المقالات مع NHS Choices . تقدم مشاركتنا، المقالات التي تركز على المريض، والأدوات التفاعلية لمواردنا الصحية موثوقة ولاتقدر بثمن لك ولعائلتك.  

Generation Nutrition – a new campaign to end child deaths from acute malnutrition

Generation Nutrition – a new campaign to end child deaths from acute malnutrition>> Download Malnutrition: an everyday emergency: a 10-point plan for tackling acute malnutrition in under-fives.

Child deaths from acute malnutrition could be ended in a generation, according to a new global campaign launched today by a coalition of leading international development organisations.

The campaign puts a spotlight on the plight of the 52 million children in the world suffering from acute malnutrition - 1 in 12 children worldwide. In a report published today, campaigners reveal that 1 million children die every year as a result of inadequate nutrition and that millions more have their prospects irreversibly damaged by the devastating effects of malnutrition.

The organisations launching the 'Generation Nutrition' campaign say it does not need to be this way. The campaign calls for world leaders to agree on a new global target to bring down the number of children suffering from acute malnutrition by millions every year and take action to end child deaths from the condition.

Generation Nutrition is launching a global petition today calling on world leaders to prioritise tackling acute child malnutrition and to ensure that the post-2015 development framework that replaces the Millennium Development Goals prioritises ending child deaths from hunger. Campaigners will present this petition to world leaders at the meeting of the United Nations in September 2014 as negotiations involving every nation on earth get underway.

The launch of the campaign is accompanied by a report entitled 'Malnutrition: an everyday emergency: a 10-point plan for tackling acute malnutrition in under-fives.' >> Download

The CMAM Forum is part of this campaign. Please click here to sign the Generation Nutrition petition now.

International Society for Social Pediatrics and Child Health (ISSOP) Position Statement on sponsorship of paediatricians/paediatric societies by the Baby Feeding Industry

Infant and young child feeding is central to child health and, after birth, breastfeeding is the first act of provision by a mother for her child. For most of history no other third party was required to support infant feeding other than the mother and the surrounding family. It is only since the commercial development of breast milk substitutes in the nineteenth century that health professionals have become involved in their prescription.

ISSOP "In recent years, the commercialisation of infant feeding has impacted on professional practice through the development of sponsorship by the Baby Feeding Industry of medical conferences and meetings, along with gifts to health workers.

It is the view of ISSOP that this sponsorship is damaging to the reputation of paediatricians, to the health of mothers and infants, and to the status of breastfeeding and this statement explains the reasons why we believe that such sponsorship should be terminated."

>> Download ISSOP Position Statement

ISSOP is hopeful that the Position Statement will be used with paediatric societies and associations around the world to ensure that paediatricians and other health professionals avoid conflicts of interest, and protect breastfeeding as one of the most health promoting measures in the field of child health.

*The term Baby Feeding Industry refers to all commercial companies which market infant formula or other infant feeding products.

Maternal and Child Nutrition Series - The Lancet
Published June 6, 2013 - Executive summary

Visit the special site on the 2013 Series on Maternal & Child Nutrition

Maternal and child undernutrition was the subject of a Series of papers in The Lancet in 2008. Five years after the initial series, we re-evaluate the problems of maternal and child undernutrition and also examine the growing problems of overweight and obesity for women and children, and their consequences in low-income and middle-income countries. Many of these countries are said to have the double burden of malnutrition: continued stunting of growth and deficiencies of essential nutrients along with the emerging issue of obesity. We also assess national progress in nutrition programmes and international efforts toward previous recommendations.

Read the entire Executive Summary here - pdf.

Where children go hungry in the worldWhere children go hungry in the world

Every day, tens of millions of children go to school—or to bed—hungry. Not only does it take a toll on their studies, hindering their chances of a better life, it also stunts their growth and makes them more susceptible to illness and disease.

Scroll and click around the map to see where in the world children are underweight, which is defined as two standard deviations below the median of the NCHS/CDC/WHO International Reference Population. It's a pretty good indicator of kids who are chronically hungry.

Updates on the management of severe acute malnutrition in infants and childrenUpdates on the management of severe acute malnutrition in infants and children

This guideline provides global, evidence-informed recommendations on a number of specific issues related to the management of severe acute malnutrition in infants and children, including in the context of HIV.

The guideline is intended for a wide audience, including policy-makers, their expert advisers, and technical and programme staff in organizations involved in the design, implementation and scaling-up of nutrition actions for public health. The guideline will form the basis for a revised manual on the management of severe malnutrition for physicians and other senior health workers, and a training course on the management of severe malnutrition.
Download: Full document pdf, 2.18Mb

Nutritional care and support for patients with tuberculosisNutritional care and support for patients with tuberculosis

This guideline provides guidance on the principles and evidence-informed recommendations on the nutritional care and support for patients with tuberculosis.

Undernutrition increases the risk of tuberculosis and in turn tuberculosis can lead to malnutrition. Undernutrition is therefore highly prevalent among people with tuberculosis. It has been demonstrated that undernutrition is a risk factor for progression from tuberculosis infection to active tuberculosis disease and that undernutrition at the time of diagnosis of active tuberculosis is a predictor of increased risk of death and tuberculosis relapse. However, the evidence concerning the effect of nutritional supplementation on tuberculosis prevention and health outcomes among people with tuberculosis had not previously been systematically reviewed.

The primary audience for the guideline is health workers providing care to people with tuberculosis. However, the guideline is also intended for a wider audience including policy-makers, their expert advisers, and technical and programme staff at organizations involved in the design, implementation and scaling-up of nutrition actions for public health.

Downloads: Full text in English pdf, 596kb - Executive summary pdf, 334kb

Toolkit on How to protect and Promote the Nutrition of Mothers and ChildrenToolkit on How to protect and Promote the Nutrition of Mothers and Children

A Toolkit for Stable, Crisis, and Emergency Situations
in Latin America and the Caribbean
Human Development - Health, Nutrition & Population - The World Bank – 2013

Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the most vulnerable regions in the world to major crises and emergencies. The resultant economic and human costs can set back countries' development for years. These crises and emergencies take a toll on the nutritional status of the most vulnerable, especially poor mothers and children. The poorest often live in a constant state of crisis as they are confronted with recurring financial, environmental, and social shocks. The malnutrition that ensues leads to irreversible negative impacts and generates high human, social, and economic costs that contribute to perpetuating poverty.

India: Nutrition Resource Platform

Malnutrition in children and women remains as one of the greatest challenges in India. Malnutrition remains a major threat to the survival, growth and development of children.

In response to this major challenge, and one of the key decisions of Prime Minister's Council on India's Nutrition Challenges, Ministry of Women and Child Development has prepared an IEC campaign against malnutrition. This campaign has the pro bono services of Shri Aamir Khan and has the active support from UNICEF and other development partners.

The overall objective of the nationwide information, education and communication campaign against malnutrition is to address issues of status of women, the care of pregnant mothers and children under two, breastfeeding and the importance of balanced nutrition, health.

Information, Education & Communication (IEC) Campaign Against Malnutrition

WebcastTrainingIEC Creatives ( Press Ads, Outdoor, Posters, Videos, Radio ) in 18 Languages:

HindiEnglishUrduPunjabiGujarati MarathiKonkaniBengaliOriyaAssameseManipuriKhasiMizoGaroKannadaMalayalamTamilTelugu

Media Kit:

Part I English

Part II English

Part I Hindi

Part II Hindi

Power of Nutrition: animated video, infographic, and resource guide

Alive & Thrive Resources:
The Power of Nutrition advocacy tools help illustrate the importance of early childhood nutrition in strengthening the future for children, communities and nations.

Nutrition is one of the most cost-effective investments a country can make to advance health and development. That's why developing countries are leading efforts to make infant and young child nutrition a top priority in national policies and programs. These leaders are part of a global movement to mobilize resources, increase investments and scale up efforts to improve nutrition. As this movement continues to grow, together we can unlock the power of nutrition.

Use these tools in your advocacy efforts to improve childhood nutrition and infant and young child feeding.

This video illustrates the importance of early childhood nutrition in strengthening the future for children, communities and nations. Learn more

Unlock the Power of NutritionThe infographic can serve as a leave-behind material at meetings or conferences, a poster for office or clinic walls, and an informational piece for press kits, mailings and more.

Power of Nutrition Resource GuideThe resource guide provides additional key messaging around the global movement to scale up nutrition, the action steps for policymakers, the power of nutrition and best feeding practices.

Featured Courses

Wellstart's Lactation Management Self-Study Modules, Level 1 The New Revised 4th Edition of Wellstart’s Lactation Management Self-Study Modules, Level 1 - English
pdf formatpdf 151 pages 1.9 mb - Edición en Español
This educational tool is downloadable without charge.

Visitors are invited but not required to help this tool to continue to be available by donating any amount they wish to Wellstart International, a US based 501(c) (3) non-profit organization that is compliant with the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.

Users are also requested to send your name, professional school that you are affiliated with and an e-mail address to so that we may send you updates and alerts about relevant new materials and references.

Caring for infants and children with acute malnutrition

This course, from the University of Southampton, is designed to cater individualised learning for health professionals who have any responsibility for child care, especially paediatricians, nurses, medical students and nursing students. The course is designed to support interactive and self-directed learning.

Based on the WHO's guidelines, the course provides standardised and interactive learning in 3 modules. In the first module you will learn the definition and classification of malnutrition, the visible and invisible changes caused by malnutrition and why malnourished children need different care from other children. In the second module you will learn how to assess and screen children for malnutrition, and in the third module how to manage children with malnutrition. These will include the ten steps for successful management, how community- and facility-based approaches can be integrated to widen coverage and why common conditions such as gastroenteritis, pneumonia and malaria have to be treated differently when there is coexisting malnutrition.

13 October, 2014

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