Levels and trends in child malnutrition

UNICEF / WHO / World Bank Group Joint Child Malnutrition Estimates : Key findings of the 2021 edition

Cover photo
UNICEF Sri Lanka


Good nutrition sets children on the path to survive and thrive. Well-nourished children grow, develop, learn, play, participate and contribute – while malnutrition robs children of their full potential, with consequences for children, nations and the world.

Stunting is the devastating result of poor nutrition in-utero and early childhood. Children suffering from stunting may never attain their full possible height and their brains may never develop to their full cognitive potential. These children begin their lives at a marked disadvantage: they face learning difficulties in school, earn less as adults, and face barriers to participation in their communities.
Globally, 149.2 million children under 5 suffered from stunting in 2020.* These numbers may increase substantially due to constraints in accessing nutritious diets and essential nutrition services during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the full impact on stunting possibly taking years to manifest.

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UNICEF / WHO / World Bank
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