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Nutrition and Growth
Nutrition and Growth

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The Challenge

Good nutrition is the cornerstone for survival, health and development. Well-nourished children perform better in school, grow into healthy adults and in turn give their children a better start in life. Well-nourished women face fewer risks during pregnancy and childbirth, and their children set off on firmer developmental paths, both physically and mentally.

Globally, more than one third of child deaths are attributable to undernutrition.

Global distribution of deaths among children under age 5, by cause, 2010
Global distribution of deaths among children under age 5, by cause, 2010

Child Malnutrition—a Silent Killer

Malnutrition is linked to nearly half of all childhood deaths. Prices for basic food like rice, maize, wheat, oil, sugar and salt are skyrocketing, threatening food security, and forcing millions of the world's poorest children into severe malnourishment and starvation.

In much of the world, children with full bellies are still lacking the nutrients and vitamins they need to grow to their full potential. A malnourished child is less able to fight off illness, less likely to get the most out of schooling, and often becomes physically and mentally stunted. Malnutrition keeps children trapped in the cycle of poverty.

Impact on child survival and global situation

Optimal breastfeeding of infants under two years of age has the greatest potential impact on child survival of all preventive interventions, with the potential to prevent over 800,000 deaths (13 per cent of all deaths) in children under five in the developing world (Lancet 2013).

Breastfed children have at least six times greater chance of survival in the early months than non-breastfed children. An exclusively breastfed child is 14 times less likely to die in the first six months than a non-breastfed child, and breastfeeding drastically reduces deaths from acute respiratory infection and diarrhoea, two major child killers (Lancet 2008). The potential impact of optimal breastfeeding practices is especially important in developing country situations with a high burden of disease and low access to clean water and sanitation. But non-breastfed children in industrialized countries are also at greater risk of dying - a recent study of post-neonatal mortality in the United States found a 25% increase in mortality among non-breastfed infants. In the UK Millennium Cohort Survey, six months of exclusive breast feeding was associated with a 53% decrease in hospital admissions for diarrhoea and a 27% decrease in respiratory tract infections.

While breastfeeding rates are no longer declining at the global level, with many countries experiencing significant increases in the last decade, only 39 per cent of children less than six months of age in the developing world are exclusively breastfed and just 58 per cent of 20-23 month olds benefit from the practice of continued breastfeeding. A growing number of countries are demonstrating that significant and rapid progress is possible, with 25 countries showing increases of 20 percentage points or more.

Undernutrition as an underlying cause of child deaths associated with diarrhea, pneumonia, malaria, and measles

Malnutrition identified as root cause of 3.1 million deaths among children

HealthPhone Nutrition Video Library

Poshan | Nutrition: Stage 1 - Creating awareness about the symptoms and alarming consequences of malnutrition

Introduction — Boss — Buddhu Baccha — Cricket — Dead Tree — Information Technology — Literacy — Matka — Stock Market — Teacher — Window — World Cup

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Food and Nutrition Board

Select Language: HindiEnglishAssameseBengaliGaroGujaratiKannadaKhasiKonkaniMalayalamManipuriMarathiNagameseOriyaPunjabiTamilTeluguUrdu

Adequate Complementary Feeding While Continuing Breastfeeding
Anaemia: Blood and Iron Deficiency
The Importance of a Balanced Diet
Correct Norms of Infant and Young Child Feeding
Importance of Infant and Young Child Nutrition
Iodine: The Importance of Iodised Salt
Nutrition of the Child
Vitamin A

Alive & Thrive - Bangladesh

Complementary Feeding - Animal-source Foods Increasing Father’s Participation in IYCF
Poor Appetite
Complementary Feeding - Quantity
Meena on Complementary Feeding: Land of Ajob, Land of Sojib
Complementary Feeding Training for Frontline Health Workers
Infant and Young Child Feeding Advocacy For Doctors
Building Capacity of Health Workers in Bangladesh
Change is Happening in Bangladesh: Part 1
Change is Happening in Bangladesh: Part 2

Alive & Thrive - Ethiopia

Monitoring and Frequency of Feeding
Complementary Foods Thickness
Complementary Foods Variety
Complementary Feeding During Sickness
Fathers Involvement in Feeding Animal Source Foods to Baby
What You Do and Know

Alive & Thrive - Viet Nam

Iron-rich Foods


सही खुराक और बढ़वार

Growth Monitoring: Monitor your child's growth by having them weighed every month and maintaining a Growth Chart for them
बच्चों की सही बढ़त: अपने बच्चे के वज़न पर पूरा ध्यान दीजिए और अपने सामने ही बच्चे का ग्रोथ चार्ट भरवाइए

Proper nutrition for mental development: Proper and adequate nutrition is essential for a growing child
मानसिक विकास के लिए सही खुराक: सही पोषण हर बढ़ते बच्चे की ज़रूरत है

Vitamin A: Vitamin A helps children fight and resist illnesses
विटामिन ए: बच्चों को विटामिन ए की खुराक से बीमारियों से लड़ने की ताकत मिलती है

Iron & Anaemia: Include iron rich foods in your child's diet
आयरन और अनीमिया (खून की कमी): बच्चों के खाने में लौह (आयरन) की मात्रा ज्य़ादा रखें

Iodine deficiency: Using iodized salt ensures the proper mental and cognitive development of a child
आयोडीन की कमी: आयोडीन वाला नमक इस्तेमाल करने से बच्चे का मानसिक विकास सही होता है

Federal Ministry of Health and UNICEF, Ethiopia

Severe Acute Malnutrition

Watch this video series in Amharic

Part 1 - Introduction - What is Severe Acute Malnutrition?
Part 2 - Community Mobilization
Part 3 - Screening for Acute Malnutrition
Part 4 - Checking for Complications
Part 5 - Appetite Testing Techniques
Part 6 - Assessment and Classification of a Child with Acute Malnutrition
Part 7 - OTP Admission Procedure
Part 8 - Management of Severe Acute Malnutrition in OTP and Follow Up
Part 9 - Discharge Criteria
Exercise 1 - Assessing for Presence of Severe Acute Malnutrition
Exercise 2 - Assessing, Classifying and Taking Action

Medical Aid Films

Food for Life
Food for Life: What and When to Feed Your Child

Films en Français
Quand et comment nourrir votre enfant - 6 à 24 mois

Somali Language Films
Waxaad iyo marka aad quudinayso cunnugaaga (6 ilaa 24 bilood)

Swahili Language Films
Nini na wakati gani umlishe mtoto wako (miaka 6 hadi 24)


Child Malnutrition - What? How? And when to Refer..

Watch More Videos — Nutrition and Growth Library

28 June, 2014


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