Undernourished and overlooked

A global nutrition crisis in adolescent girls and women

maternal nutrition, malnutrition, lactating women, lactating mothers, undernutrition, nutrition, pregnant women, pregnant mothers
UNICEF Sudan/2023/Mahmoud


There has been important progress for the rights of adolescent girls and women in recent decades, yet millions still struggle to access the nutritious diets, essential nutrition services and nutrition and care practices they need to prevent malnutrition.

Undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and anaemia amplify gender inequalities by lowering learning potential, wages and life opportunities for adolescent girls and women, weakening their immunity to infections, and increasing their risk of life-threatening complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

Poor maternal nutrition can also have debilitating and even lethal consequences for infants and young children. Maternal undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and anaemia increase the risk of stillbirth, newborn death and preterm delivery and impair foetal development, with lifelong consequences for children’s nutrition, growth, learning and future earning capacity.

Press release: Malnutrition in mothers soars by 25 per cent in crisis-hit countries, putting women and newborn babies at risk – UNICEF

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