Malnutrition is a global problem. Almost half of all child deaths are linked to undernutrition. Despite important progress and action over the past decade, malnutrition levels in developing countries remain dangerously high.
Currently, poor nutrition has led to 45 million children suffering from wasting (dangerously low weight for height, typically due to acute malnutrition), and 149 million stunted children (dangerously low height for age, due to prolonged malnutrition).
Projections show malnutrition levels are rising due to Covid-19 – with the pandemic causing an additional 13.6 million wasted children, 3.6 million stunted children, and 283,000 child deaths – all of which could be prevented. Climate change and prolonged conflict in vulnerable states also drastically affect global nutrition levels.
Investing in nutrition is one of the most cost-effective drivers for development and prosperity. Every $1 invested in nutrition can generate $16 in returns. Reducing malnutrition in Africa and Asia could increase a country’s overall economic productivity by 11 percent, as measured by GDP per capita.
Nutrition is at the heart of global development goals. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 global goals with specific targets for the world to meet by 2030 to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. SDG 2 aims to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.”
However, success in nutrition underpins success in all SDGs. Improved nutrition helps education, gender equality, reduces poverty and improves life opportunities. This is why nutrition is considered foundational to sustainable development.
The Power of Nutrition’s work directly contributes to progress in SDG 2 but indirectly helps all SDGs. We also work towards the World Health Assembly’s 2025 global nutrition targets that aim to tackle the double burden of under- and over-nutrition by achieving: