Levels and trends in child malnutrition

UNICEF – WHO – World Bank Group joint child malnutrition estimates
Key findings of the 2015 edition

The data in this 2015 edition supersede all historical data previously published by UNICEF, WHO and World Bank Group.
© UNICEF/GHAA2015-01436/Quarmyne

Stunting rates are dropping but 159
million children around the world are
still affected. 
There are 41 million overweight
children in the world; about 10 million
more than there were 2 decades ago.

The ultimate goal:

for all children to be
free of malnutrition in
all its forms.

Wasting still threatens the lives of 50
million children across the globe.

but not fast enough.2 Global overview Stunting The global trend in stunting prevalence and numbers of children affected is decreasing. 159 million were stunted 41 million were overweight 20M 50 million were wasted (each pair of children represents 20 million children) Notes on the updated joint malnutrition estimates In September 2015.. Overweight prevalence has gone up slightly between 1990 and 2014... stunting prevalence declined from 39.org/child-malnutrition> .int/nutgrowthdb/estimates> World Bank Group <data.. 2014 Nearly a third of all wasted children were severely wasted. from 4.1 per cent… + 10M …and numbers affected have risen from 31 million to 41 million.cf/jmedashboard2015> WHO <www. (ii) interactive dashboards. 50 million children under 5 were wasted. there were 667 million children under 5 in the world. This key findings report summarizes the new numbers.8 per cent. Overweight The global trend in overweight prevalence and numbers of children affected is rising.. of which 16 million were severely wasted in 2014. .96M …and numbers affected declined from 255 million to 159 million. In 2014. Additional materials include: (i) the latest country-level joint malnutrition dataset.4 per cent. 50M Approximately 1 out of every 13 children in the world was wasted in 2014. and. UNICEF. the global wasting rate was 7. with a global prevalence in 2014 of 2. An estimated: Globally. main messages and identifies some minor changes in methodology.8 per cent to 6. WHO and World Bank Group released updated joint child malnutrition estimates for the 1990 to 2014 period.who. which represent the most recent global and regional figures after adding 62 new surveys from 57 countries to the joint dataset.worldbank..5 per cent. UNICEF <uni. Between 1990 and 2014. 1990 2014 Wasting In 2014. which allow users to visualize and export the global and regional estimates.6 per cent to 23. 1990 2014 .

and increases the risk of noncommunicable disease later in life. World Bank Group joint malnutrition estimates. .0 Asia* Northern Africa Southern Western 9.9 24. Wasting is the result of sudden or acute malnutrition.9 Southeastern Africa Eastern Asia Middle Africa Africa 5. excluding Australia and New Zealand Source: UNICEF..4 9.0 Asia Asia 6. Unequal progress in stunting reduction since 1990 -24% Africa .4 South America 2.3 40 32.4 2010 2005 2000 1995 1990 2014 2010 2005 2000 7.0 Oceania Three subregions are approaching the public health emergency line.41% Southern Asia In 2014.. *Note it is possible for a child to show combinations of malnutrition.1 35. Stunting is the failure to grow both physically and cognitively and is the result of chronic or recurrent malnutrition.2 1995 1990 2010 2005 2000 1995 1990 2014 5..3 Regional overview – prevalence Africa has seen slow progress in reducing stunting Percentage of children under 5 stunted and percentage of children under 5 overweight.6 42. one subregion was above the public health emergency line for wasting Percentage of children under 5 wasted.5 20 11.0 25. Source: UNICEF. by United Nations subregion. 2015 edition.7 4. excluding Japan **Oceania. This form of malnutrition results from expending too few calories for the amount consumed.2 7. Eastern 4. It does not reflect a position by UNICEF.1 Poor 5 .< 15% Critical ≥ 15% No data Public health emergency range Central America 3. This map is stylized and not to scale. Overweight refers to a child who is too heavy for his/her height. Wasting refers to a child who is too thin for his/her height. Forms of malnutrition* highlighted in this key findings report Stunting refers to a child who is too short for his/her age.0 1990 10 2014 Africa *Asia (excluding Japan). **Oceania (excluding Australia and New Zealand) 1990 and 1995 estimates had consecutive low population coverage.< 10% Serious 10 . World Bank Group joint malnutrition estimates. WHO.5 Acceptable < 5% Not even one subregion in Africa has an acceptable level of wasting. 1990 – 2014 Asia 70 Africa Asia* Latin America and Caribbean Latin America Oceania* Oceania** and Caribbean 60 per cent 50 47.82% 2x reduction .1 30 stunting overweight 95% confidence interval 38. 2014 3.7 8.9 6.1 Caribbean 1.3 9. While Asia as a whole has cut stunting by almost half.1 Central Asia 14. Its effects often last a lifetime. WHO. WHO or World Bank Group on the legal status of any country or territory or the delimitation of any frontiers. 2015 edition.9 1.4 4.9 2014 2010 2005 2000 1995 0 5. where the child is not getting enough calories from food and faces an immediate risk of death. by United Nations region. -47% Asia Eastern Asia . such as be stunted and overweight or stunted and wasted..6 3. Southern Africa *Eastern Asia.7 Western 7.progress among subregions has been uneven.

The majority of children under 5 suffering from wasting live in Asia (each child silhouette represents 1 million children) In 2014.6 10.7 M Oceania 0.4 Regional overview – numbers affected In Africa.3 M Africa 13. 1990 and 2014 +22% 200 1990 2014 1990 increase 15 +23% 100 2014 nearly 3x +91% 20 -52% 150 25 +67% -57% 10 +5% 50 5 190 0 47 91 58 14 6 0.0 19. The underlying data for global and regional estimates are from country-level household surveys. For programme purposes.12 *Asia (excluding Japan). In 2014. however. World Bank Group joint malnutrition estimates 2015 edition. Source: UNICEF. more than half of all stunted children under 5 lived in Asia and more than one third lived in Africa. incidence data (i. Africal. these currently do not exist. which can change rapidly. Hence it is possible to generate reliable time trends.25% The number of overweight children under 5 in Africa has nearly doubled since 1990.3 3. **Oceania (excluding Australia and New Zealand) 1990 estimate had consecutive low population coverage. Trends are not informative for wasting and severe wasting given that these are acute conditions.5 0. Thus only 2014 global and regional estimates are presented.9 0. have rising numbers of stunted children under 5. 1990 and 2014 Number of children under 5 overweight.e. almost all wasted children under 5 lived in Asia and Africa.03 0. In 2014. the number of new cases that occur during an entire calendar year) would be ideal. Such country data are collected infrequently and measure malnutrition at one point in time.9 M Latin America and Caribbean 0. .28% Strengths and weaknesses of malnutrition data Prevalence estimates for stunting and overweight are relatively robust.37% Three out of five sub-regions in Africa. Asia 57% Asia 48% Africal.3 0 16. Asia 34. Eastern Africa. Middle Africa and Western Africa. the number of stunted children is rising The number of overweight children is on the rise in all regions Number of children under 5 stunted. almost half of all overweight children under 5 lived in Asia and one quarter lived in Africa.1 M Southern Asia is home to more than half of all wasted children under 5 globally.. by United Nations region. This makes it difficult to capture the rapid fluctuations of wasting and severe wasting over time. by United Nations region. WHO. Asia 68% Africal.

4 3.1 1995 10 1990 per cent 50 Unequal progress in stunting reduction since 1990 -32% -77% . World Bank Group joint malnutrition estimates.5 32. 30 20 7.5 million to 15.. 2010 2005 2000 6.6 40 33. yet these countries accounted for two thirds of all stunted children globally.5 million. by country income classification.5 4.8 1995 1990 2014 2010 2005 2000 1995 6.. In 2014.8 2014 2. and a 77% decrease in upper-middle-income countries. the residual is for high-income countries..5 Country income groupings overview Low-income countries have made the least progress towards stunting reductions since 1990 Percentage of children under 5 stunted and percentage of children under 5 overweight. Note: the numbers do not add up to 100 per cent. yet these countries only accounted for 8 per cent of all stunted children globally.3 Lower-middleincome Upper-middle-income stunting overweight 95% confidence interval 37. WHO. but nearly one quarter of all stunted children live in these countries. 47% 26% 66% 24% 15% 8% Share of under-5 population in 2014 Share of stunted children under 5 in 2014 Low-income countries only accounted for 15 per cent of the global under-5 population in 2014.7 1990 2014 2010 2005 2000 0 3. 2015 edition. from 7.9 Source: UNICEF. . 1990 – 2014 Low-income 70 60 54. one quarter of all children under 5 lived in uppermiddle-income countries..6 55. 1990 2x as high 2014 Low-income and lower-middle-income countries now account for almost all stunted children worldwide The share of all stunted children that live in lowincome and lower-middle-income countries has shifted from 7 in 10 to 9 in 10 between 1990 and 2014. 1990 2014 Lower-income countries bear a disproportionate share of stunted children relative to the total population distribution Less than half of all children under 5 lived in lowermiddle-income countries in 2014. Overweight numbers have doubled in lower-middle-income countries since 1990 The number of overweight children in lowermiddle-income countries has more than doubled since 1990.6 Only a 32% decrease in low-income countries.

org . The updated joint dataset which includes: • 778 national surveys (62 new) • data from 150 countries and territories (representing more than 90 per cent of all children under 5 globally (population coverage varies by regions and periods)). WHO Geneva and the Development Data Group. This method has been used since the 2013 edition (prior to that. V 0.org data. For example. Updated data sources i. 2015 Revision. to instances where the data should be interpreted with caution due to low population coverage (defined as less than 50 per cent). Footnotes on population coverage As in the 2014 edition. ii. if a survey was conducted between 1 September 2009 and 28 February 2010. iii.org Email: nutrition@who. Preliminary survey results are no longer included in the dataset due to situations where they had been cancelled or significantly changed before release. were used as weighting factors for each country survey to derive the regional and global prevalence estimates and calculate the numbers affected. four months in 2009 versus two months in 2010). since the majority of data collection took place in that year (i. Email: data@unicef. UNICEF New York.e..worldbank. A conservative method was applied looking at available data within mutually exclusive five-year periods around the projected years. 2010 in the example above). September 2015. This was important in order to alert the reader.int www. World Bank Group Washington DC. via footnotes. except for some minor refinements detailed below: 1. Final reports only As of the 2014 edition..org data. the survey year assigned is the one in which most of the fieldwork took place.who. The under 5 population estimates The United Nations World Population Prospects. Population coverage was calculated as: the sum of country five-year average populations (for which surveys are available in the dataset) the total of country five-year average population for all countries in the region This brochure was prepared by the Data and Analytics Section of the Division of Data.unicef. Regional and country income classifications as per July 2015 countries with data countries without data 4.int/nutrition Email: data@worldbank. the year 2009 would be assigned.6 Notes on methodology The analysis methods have remained unchanged from the 2012 report. the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development.1 Sierra Leone 2009 Panama Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) Andorra Georgia Serbia Comoros Liechtenstein France Solomon Islands Czech Republic Congo Republic of Korea United Republic of Tanzania New Zealand Syrian Arab Republic 3. Research and Policy. the dataset used to generate the global and regional estimates is based only on final survey results.g. FINAL Spain Niue Suriname Zambia Belgium The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Madagascar Iran (Islamic Republic of) Brazil Antigua and Barbuda Libya Uzbekistan China Senegal Morocco Saudi Arabia Samoa Holy See Mozambique Mongolia Slovakia Malaysia Bolivia (Plurinational State of) Namibia Jordan State of Palestine Uganda Democratic Republic of the Congo Kuwait United Arab Emirates Nepal Peru Mauritania Nauru Saint Lucia Croatia Mali Nicaragua Bahrain Costa Rica Cuba Albania Sri Lanka Turkmenistan Montenegro Saint Kitts and Nevis Hungary Portugal Bulgaria Afghanistan United Kingdom Togo Myanmar Slovenia Republic of Moldova Tunisia Pakistan Honduras Kenya Zimbabwe Belize Algeria Bosnia and Herzegovina Finland Tajikistan Sao Tome and Principe Italy Rwanda South Sudan Micronesia (Federated States of) Tonga Australia Qatar Djibouti Timor-Leste Estonia Thailand Kazakhstan Paraguay Armenia Guinea Bangladesh Azerbaijan Cabo Verde Cameroon Kiribati Gabon Kyrgyzstan Ghana South Africa Uruguay Switzerland Sudan Malawi Palau United States Nigeria India Mexico Jamaica Benin Belarus Russian Federation Romania Côte d'Ivoire Ireland Singapore Burundi Haiti Canada Ethiopia Indonesia Israel Austria Guatemala Guyana Equatorial Guinea Iraq Chad Chile Angola Trinidad and Tobago Ukraine Norway Sweden Tuvalu Bahamas Yemen Monaco Germany Eritrea Lithuania Turkey Barbados Marshall Islands Cyprus Mauritius Fiji Dominica Iceland Lebanon Netherlands Niger Oman Botswana Central African Republic Cambodia Democratic People's Republic of Korea Egypt Cook Islands Brunei Darussalam Poland El Salvador Greece Papua New Guinea Burkina Faso Grenada Philippines Denmark Seychelles San Marino Viet Nam Liberia Ecuador Vanuatu Luxembourg Dominican Republic Guinea-Bissau Lesotho Latvia Colombia Lao People's Democratic Republic Somalia Japan Bhutan Argentina Swaziland Gambia Maldives SEPT OCT NOV DEC 2010 JAN FEB 2. Year assigned to each survey When data collection begins in one calendar year and continues into the next. the latter year was used by default – e. a separate exercise was conducted to assess population coverage.

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