Nutrition is vital but was long neglected in Papua New Guinea. The rate of malnutrition (under-nutrition) is unacceptably high and remains a significant underlying factor for illness and deaths particularly for children under five years old.
Almost half of these children are stunted (short for age). The prevalence of stunting and underweight are particularly high in the first two years of life and much higher in rural than urban areas. Malnutrition remains a persistent problem with serious development implications that the country has struggled to tackle over the recent decades.