Mother, Infant and Young Child Nutrition and Malnutrition
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Raising Awareness About Nutrition
UNICEF and the European Union joining forces with the Government of the Lao People's Democratic Republic to fight malnutrition.
In summary, WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of an infant's life. Thereafter, local, nutritious foods should be introduced, while breastfeeding continues for up to two years or beyond. Followup formula is therefore unnecessary. In addition, follow-up formula is not a suitable substitute for breast milk, due to its content.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
The 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.
The 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.
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.