THE STATE OF THE WORLD'S CHILDREN 2019 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Children, food and nutrition
At a time when one in three children under 5 is not getting the nutrition they need to grow well, The State of the World’s Children 2019 examines children’s malnutrition today. Communities increasingly face a triple burden of malnutrition: despite declines, 149 million children aged under 5 still suffer from stunting and almost 50 million from wasting; 340 million children suffer from the hidden hunger of deficiencies of vitamins and minerals; and rates of overweight are rising rapidly.
In the 21st century, children’s malnutrition must be understood against a backdrop of rapid change, including the growth of urban populations and the globalization of food systems, which is leading to increased availability of food high in calories but low in nutrients.
Malnutrition profoundly harms children’s growth and development. Unless it is addressed, children and societies will struggle to reach their full potential. This challenge can be met only by addressing malnutrition at every stage of the child’s life and by putting children’s unique nutritional needs at the heart of food systems and the supporting systems of health, water and sanitation, education and social protection.