Chronic undernutrition among children: An indicator of poverty
This FAO map was jointly prepared by the Economic and Social Department and the Sustainable Development Department
These global maps show the distribution of chronic undernutrition at national and subnational levels using stunting in growth among children under five years of age as an indicator.
Stunting is defined as height-for-age below minus two standard deviations from the international growth reference standard (National Center for Health Statistics/World Health Organization).
This indicator reflects long-term cumulative effects of inadequate food intake and poor health conditions as a result of lack of hygiene and recurrent illness in poor and unhealthy environments.
The prevalence of chronic undernutrition is a relevant and valid measure of endemic poverty and is a better indicator than estimates of per capita income.
Stunting has a negative impact on the intellectual and physical development of children, compromising the development of human resources in poor countries. Persistent high prevalence of stunting among children indicates chronic failure in poverty alleviation.
The reduction of chronic undernutrition will boost economic growth and help alleviate poverty.
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