In 1988/89, stunting affected one in three Togolese children under the age of 3 years, while wasting affected 5%. A decade later, the prevalence of stunting had fallen to 22%, but that of wasting was alarmingly high, affecting 12% of children. Prevalence was much higher in the North than in the South, and, classically, in the rural than in the urban sector (Maps 3 and 4). Partial data indicate that there is no-catch of linear growth up at school age, and a large deficit in weight persists throughout adolescence (data on height are not available for this age group).
Among adults, in 1987/89, chronci energy deficiency, defined as a Body Mass Index less than 18.5 kg/m2, was more frequent among women than among men, and in the rural than in the urban sector (repsectively . Moreover, the highest prevalence was observed iin theNorth (Savanes region). A decade later, in 1998, prevalence among mothers appeared lower on a national level (10.9%) because of a decreased prevalence in the rural sector .
In 1987/89, overweight and obesity, defined as a BMI of 25kg/m2 or more, were observed more frequently among women than men and in the urban compared with the rural sector (urban women : 12.3%; urban men 5.8%; rural women : 8.0%; rural men : 3.2%). In 1998, prevalence among mothers remained unchanged (11.4%). Thus the prevalence of overwight and obsity remain low in comparison with estimates observed in countries undergiong a nutritional transition, and the situation in Togo appears to be stable.
There are no nationawide survey of mucronutrient deficiencies. Iron deficiency appears to be a public health problem. Iodine deficiency mostly affects the Kara and Plateaux regions, and vitamin A deficiency the sahelian region of the North of the country.
Food consumption is characteruzed by low protein intakes, in particular from animal sources, and a diet consisting mainly of carbohydrates. Based on food supply data, undernutrition affects approximately on fifth of the population. Regional differences in food consumption are not consistent with differences in the prevalence of malnutrition based on anthropometric indicators (Map 2). The high prevalence of malnutrition in the North could be due to a longer and more severe period of food shortage. Togo is an essentially agricultural country, with a diversified production, which is nonetheless sensitive to climatic variations. The country is poor in natural resources and the level of economic development, during the last decades, has fluctuated. Recemtly, after a long and severe period of political and economic instability in the early 90's, the situation has improved. Nevertheless this improvement does not tranlate into a better nutrition situation because the standard of living remains mediocre, with a profound rural poverty especially in the northern part of the country and an increasing urban poverty, while acces to safe water and sanitation remians insufficient.