Stop stunting: Pakistan perspective on how this could be realized

Jai K. Das, Abdul Baseer Khan Achakzai and Zulfiqar A. Bhutta

Globally, nearly half of all under-five deaths annually (3 million deaths) are attributable to undernutrition, as malnutrition is associated with increased risk of morbidity and infections, which leads to mortality (Liu et al. 2015). In 2011, at least 165 million children worldwide were stunted, and 52 million were wasted, with higher prevalence in south Asia and sub- Saharan Africa. Malnutrition is not confined to children but is also rampant among women of reproductive age. This maternal malnutrition contributes to fetal growth restriction, which leads to low birthweight and increases risk of childhood infections and mortality. Children exposed to these risks early in life have a higher risk of growth faltering and stunting, which can cause long-term irreversible and detrimental cognitive, motor and health impairments (Black et al. 2013). Most of the irreversible damage due to malnutrition occurs during gestation and in the first 24 months of life, hence underscores the importance of intervening in this period. …

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