Chapter 2 Sustainable Development Goal 2.2: Malnutrition

Key messages
  • The Arab region continued to suffer from multiple forms of malnutrition. Rates of stunting (20.5 percent) and overweight (10.7 percent) among children under five years of age were high in 2020. The prevalence of wasting was equivalent to 7.8 percent, indicating a medium public health issue, yet it was higher than the global average of 6.7 percent. The least developed countries of the region suffered from high to very high levels of wasting. In contrast, most LDCs displayed low levels of childhood overweight.
  • The prevalence of anaemia in women of reproductive age (15–49) was estimated at 33.5 percent in 2020, indicating a moderate public health issue in the region. Despite the declining trends in the past two decades, anaemia continued to remain a severe public health problem in the low-income economies of the region. Yemen had the highest prevalence of anaemia in 2020, affecting 61.5 percent of women of reproductive age.
  • Conflict-affected countries of the region performed worse on undernutrition indicators compared to non-conflict countries. The prevalence of both wasting and stunting among children under five years of age was high in conflict-affected countries and medium in non-conflict countries. In contrast, conflict-affected countries fared better on the childhood overweight indicator, which was a medium public health problem in 2020 versus a high prevalence in non-conflict countries. Note: The data and analyses presented in this report refer to the Arab States: Algeria; Bahrein; the Comoros; Djibouti; Egypt; Iraq; Jordan; Kuwait; Lebanon; Libya; Mauritania; Morocco; Oman; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; Somalia; the Sudan; the Syrian Arab Republic; Tunisia; the United Arab Emirates; Yemen, as well as Palestine.