The State of the World’s Children 2019: Children, food and nutrition
The State of the World’s Children 2019 (PDF) by UNICEF examines children’s malnutrition today. At least 1 in 3 children under 5 is undernourished or overweight and 1 in 2 suffers from hidden hunger, undermining the capacity of millions of children to grow and develop to their full potential. The triple burden of malnutrition – undernutrition, hidden hunger and overweight – threatens the survival, growth and development of children, young people, economies and nations. The triple burden of malnutrition is driven by the poor quality of children’s diets: 2 in 3 children are not fed the minimum recommended diverse diet for healthy growth and development. Cost is by far the biggest obstacle to feeding and eating healthily for mothers, followed by a lack of availability and access to healthy foods. Many mothers described a range of other challenges, including babies’ dislike of certain foods, ‘fussy’ eaters and family pressure. Globalization, urbanization, inequities, humanitarian crises and climate shocks are driving unprecedented negative changes in the nutrition situation of children around the world. Improving children’s nutrition requires food systems to deliver nutritious, safe, affordable and sustainable diets for all children. Thereby, food environments are crucial. When healthy options are affordable, convenient and desirable, children and families make better food choices. On the agenda to put children’s nutrition first: 1) Empower families, children and young people to demand nutritious food; 2) Drive food suppliers to do the right thing for children; 3) Build healthy food environments for all children; 4) Mobilize supportive systems to scale up nutrition results for all children; 5) Collect, analyse and use quality data and evidence reguarly to guide action and track progress. This agenda is driven by two imperatives. First, children have unique nutritional needs and can suffer unique harm from malnutrition. Second, all children and young people will need nutritious, affordable and sustainable diets if societies are to meet the economic, social and environmental challenges of our changing world in the 21st century.