Skip to main content
×
Home

Prevalence and trends of stunting among pre-school children, 1990–2020

  • Mercedes de Onis (a1), Monika Blössner (a1) and Elaine Borghi (a1)
Abstract
AbstractObjective

To quantify the prevalence and trends of stunting among children using the WHO growth standards.

Design

Five hundred and seventy-six nationally representative surveys, including anthropometric data, were analysed. Stunting was defined as the proportion of children below −2sd from the WHO length- or height-for-age standards median. Linear mixed-effects modelling was used to estimate rates and numbers of affected children from 1990 to 2010, and projections to 2020.

Setting

One hundred and forty-eight developed and developing countries.

Subjects

Boys and girls from birth to 60 months.

Results

In 2010, it is estimated that 171 million children (167 million in developing countries) were stunted. Globally, childhood stunting decreased from 39·7 (95 % CI 38·1, 41·4) % in 1990 to 26·7 (95 % CI 24·8, 28·7) % in 2010. This trend is expected to reach 21·8 (95 % CI 19·8, 23·8) %, or 142 million, in 2020. While in Africa stunting has stagnated since 1990 at about 40 % and little improvement is anticipated, Asia showed a dramatic decrease from 49 % in 1990 to 28 % in 2010, nearly halving the number of stunted children from 190 million to 100 million. It is anticipated that this trend will continue and that in 2020 Asia and Africa will have similar numbers of stunted children (68 million and 64 million, respectively). Rates are much lower (14 % or 7 million in 2010) in Latin America.

Conclusions

Despite an overall decrease in developing countries, stunting remains a major public health problem in many of them. The data summarize progress achieved in the last two decades and help identify regions needing effective interventions.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Prevalence and trends of stunting among pre-school children, 1990–2020
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Prevalence and trends of stunting among pre-school children, 1990–2020
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Prevalence and trends of stunting among pre-school children, 1990–2020
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Email deonism@who.int
References
Hide All
1.Waterlow JC (1994) Introduction. Causes and mechanisms of linear growth retardation (stunting). Eur J Clin Nutr 48, Suppl. 1, S1S4.
2.Victora CG, Adair L, Fall C et al. , for the Maternal and Child Undernutrition Study Group (2008) Maternal and child undernutrition: consequences for adult health and human capital. Lancet 371, 340357.
3.Kwawukume EY, Ghosh TS & Wilson JB (1993) Maternal height as a predictor of vaginal delivery. Int J Gynaecol Obstet 41, 4.
4.Merchant KM, Villar J & Kestler E (2001) Maternal height and newborn size relative to risk of intrapartum caesarean delivery and perinatal distress. BJOG 108, 689696.
5.de Onis M, Frongillo EA & Blössner M (2000) Is malnutrition declining? An analysis of changes in levels of child malnutrition since 1980. Bull World Health Organ 78, 12221233.
6.National Center for Health Statistics (1977) NCHS Growth Curves for Children, Birth–18 Years. Publication no. (PHS) 78–1650. Washington, DC: National Center for Health Statistics, Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
7.WHO Multicentre Growth Reference Study Group (2006) WHO Child Growth Standards based on length/height, weight and age. Acta Paediatr Suppl 450, 7685.
8.de Onis M, Onyango AW, Borghi E et al. , for the WHO Multicentre Growth Reference Study Group (2006) Comparison of the World Health Organization (WHO) Child Growth Standards and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)/WHO international growth reference: implications for child health programmes. Public Health Nutr 9, 942947.
9.World Health Organization, Department of Nutrition for Health and Development (2010) WHO Global Database on Child Growth and Malnutrition. http://www.who.int/nutgrowthdb/en/
10.World Health Organization (2010) WHO Anthro for personal computers: software for assessing growth and development of the world's children (version 3.1). http://www.who.int/childgrowth/software/en/
11.Yang H & de Onis M (2008) Algorithms for converting estimates of child malnutrition based on the NCHS reference into estimates based on the WHO Child Growth Standards. BMC Pediatr 8, 19.
12.de Onis M & Blössner M (2003) The World Health Organization Global Database on Child Growth and Malnutrition: methodology and applications. Int J Epidemiol 32, 518526.
13.de Onis M, Blöessner M, Borghi E et al. (2004) Estimates of global prevalence of childhood underweight in 1990 and 2015. JAMA 291, 26002606.
14.Black RE, Allen LH, Bhutta ZA et al. , for the Maternal and Child Undernutrition Study Group (2008) Maternal and child undernutrition: global and regional exposures and health consequences. Lancet 371, 243260.
15.de Onis M, Blössner M & Borghi E (2010) Global prevalence and trends of overweight and obesity among preschool children. Am J Clin Nutr 92, 12571264.
16.de Onis M, Blössner M & Borghi E (2004) Methodology for estimating regional and global trends of child malnutrition. Int J Epidemiol 33, 12601270.
17.Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations Population Division (2009) World Population Prospects, The 2008 Revision. New York: UN.
18.World Health Organization (1995) Physical Status: The Use and Interpretation of Anthropometry. Report of a WHO Expert Committee. WHO Technical Report Series no. 854. Geneva: WHO.
19.Lima AL, Silva AC, Konno SC et al. (2010) Causes of the accelerated decline in child undernutrition in Northeastern Brazil (1986–1996–2006). Rev Saude Publica 44, 1727.
20.Monteiro CA, Benicio MH, Konno SC et al. (2009) Causes for the decline in child under-nutrition in Brazil, 1996–2007. Rev Saude Publica 43, 3543.
21.Rivera JA, Irizarry LM & González-de Cossío T (2009) Overview of the nutritional status of the Mexican population in the last two decades. Salud Publica Mex 51, Suppl. 4, S645S656.
22.Rivera JA (2009) Improving nutrition in Mexico: the use of research for decision making. Nutr Rev 67, Suppl. 1, S62S65.
23.WHO Multicentre Growth Reference Study Group (2006) Assessment of differences in linear growth among populations in the WHO Multicentre Growth Reference Study. Acta Paediatr Suppl 450, 5665.
24.Victora CG, de Onis M & Hallal PC (2010) Worldwide timing of growth faltering: revisiting implications for interventions using the World Health Organization growth standards. Pediatrics 125, e473e480.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 67
Total number of PDF views: 528 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1488 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 18th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.