One child born every second of next 7 years to be stunted if SDG progress not accelerated: Data

Sub-Saharan Africa will be most affected, with 86 million cases of stunting for children born between 2023 & 2030

By Preetha Banerjee
Published: Friday 15 September 2023
Photo: iStock_

Lack of concerted effort to control the growing rates of malnutrition globally can cause nearly 194 million children born through 2030 to be stunted, an analysis by Save the Children, an international non-profit.

This means, at the current rate, nearly one newborn will be stunted every second over the next seven years, a United Nations note on the data found. 

Save The Children urged world leaders gathering next week at the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit to “urgently accelerate progress towards meeting the goals”. 

Sub-Saharan Africa will be most affected, with an estimated 86 million cases of stunting for children born between 2023 and 2030, the analysis showed. It will be closely followed by South Asia with 67 million cases, it added. 

“The Eastern Asia and Pacific region is set to witness nearly 22 million stunted children, while the Middle East and North Africa brace for 9.6 million cases, and Latin and Central America anticipate 6.7 million children facing stunted growth,” the UN statement noted, adding: 

Pakistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) stand among the top four countries expected to face the highest levels of stunting in the next seven years with over 25% of their populations currently experiencing crisis levels of hunger.

The findings also underlined the link between extreme poverty and stunting. More than half of all the projected cases of stunting are estimated to be from 40 per cent of the poorest households in the world, the data showed.

While stunting has steadily decreased since 2000, progress has fallen short of the internationally agreed targets of 100 million cases by 2025 or to eradicate all forms of malnutrition by 2030, according to Save the Children. 

Low-cost interventions like community-based treatment for acute malnutrition, supporting and protecting breastfeeding, and investing in community and primary-level healthcare should be scaled up to tackle the problem of malnutrition, the child rights organisation urged governments. 

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