Mother and Child Nutrition

UNICEF Iran together with its national partners works to improve children’s health and nutrition across Iran

Mothers learn how to make nutritious food for their children
UNICEF Iran/Noorani


The Islamic Republic of Iran is faced with low levels of all three forms of child malnutrition: undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, and overnutrition. According to Iran’s 2012 National Micronutrient Survey, 10% of children are underweight, 14% have a low weight-for-height (a sign of acute malnutrition or wasting), and 13% have a low height-for-age (a sign of chronic malnutrition or stunting). In addition, one in every five children and adolescents (or 20%) suffer from zinc deficiency, 20% suffer from vitamin A deficiency, and 76% suffer from vitamin D deficiency. According to the same survey, one third of children and adolescents in Iran are now overweight and obese. The percentages of all these different forms of child malnutrition are higher in certain population groups and locations.

An infant in a hospital in Iran


UNICEF works with the Government and other partners to:

Increase the capacity of Ministry of Health, Treatment and Medical Education as well as the State Welfare Organization to adopt and implement an evidence-based Mother and Child Nutrition approach to promote key nutrition interventions including support for breastfeeding, appropriate complementary foods for infants over 6 months and micronutrient supplementation for women and children, and national food fortification programs to address deficiencies in the first 1,000 days of life.


The adoption of an effective Mother and Child Nutrition approach, particularly in the earliest years of life, will help the brain develoment and growth of thousands of children, improve their school-readiness and educational achievement. It will further reduce disparities in health, education, and earning potential, and reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease later in life.


The main partners are the Ministry of Health, Treatment and Medical Education and the State Welfare Organization under the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labour and Social Welfare.

mother and child
UNICEF/Iran/Andisheh Rad