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Davos: 5 Key Facts on Malnutrition

During Davos, WFP is aiming to get more public and private players engaged in the battle against malnutrition. Through informal conversations and scheduled events, we will explain that malnutrition is a truly global challenge.

There is more and more research showing the devastating, permanent effects of child undernutrition.

Here are five things we want leaders here to understand:

  1. UNICEF reports that the number of children  around the world that chronically undernourished, or stunted, has risen to nearly 200 million, and  that 130 million children are underweight. Undernutrition is responsible for more than one-third of all deaths for children under five.
  2. Lancet tells us that chronic undernutrition in the first two years of life leads to irreversible damage in adult life. Addressing nutrition in this critical window of opportunity is vital to prevent irreversible impairments in physical growth and cognitive development.
  3. World Bank says that scaling up nutrition programmes in high burden countries would cost just US$11.8 billion a year.
  4. We know that preventing moderate malnutrition is affordable: US$200 to treat severe child malnourished versus just $40-80 to prevent it. (World Bank, 2009)
  5. Leading economists, including Nobel laureates, declared in the 2008 Copenhagen Consensus that five of the top ten most cost-effective solutions for development focus on malnutrition.

The research is clear, this battle is winnable. The question is not can we, but will we?