Strategies to address undernutrition in children under five

  • Mieke Faber South Africa Medical Research Council


Undernutrition is an underlying cause of 45% of child deaths, which mostly occur in low- and middle-income countries (LIMC).1 At the same time, overweight in children under five is increasing, from 4.9% (30.1 million) in 2000 to 5.9% (40.1 million) in 20182 and this contributes to obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases in adulthood.1 Prevalence of stunting, wasting and overweight in children under five are primary outcome indicators for three of the six global nutrition targets endorsed by the World Health Assembly.3 Globally in 2018, 21.9% (149 million) children under five were stunted and 7.3% (49.5 million) were wasted. Overall, the number of stunted children has decreased from 198.2 million (32.5%) in 2000 to 149.0 million in 2018. In Africa (based on figures for the United Nations regions), the prevalence of stunting decreased from 38.0% to 30.0% from 2000 to 2018, yet the number of stunted children increased from 50.3 million to 58.8 million due to the increase in population size.2

Author Biography

Mieke Faber, South Africa Medical Research Council

Non-Communicable Diseases Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Department of Dietetics and Nutrition, University of the Western Cape and Centre of Excellence for Nutrition, North-West University

How to Cite
Faber, M. (2019). Strategies to address undernutrition in children under five. South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 32(2), 4-5. Retrieved from