FACT SHEET: Why Nutrition Matters
Nutrition levels are not only an outcome of overall social and economic development, but also an essential input, impacting health, productivity and overall well-being. People who are malnourished have a weakened defence against disease, become ill more easily and more frequently and are less able to recover quickly and fully from disease.
Undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies can be particularly harmful to children, leaving them vulnerable to infectious disease and ultimately causing both physical and cognitive impairment. Chronic undernutrition can cause physical stunting—low height-for-age—and wasting— low weight-for-height. Diets that do not provide enough micronutrients can lead to severe illness, including anaemia, mental retardation and permanent blindness.