Child Malnutrition

Child malnutrition by country including child stunting, overweight, wasting, and severe wasting

  • Source: UNICEF/WHO/World Bank Group

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), UN World Health Organization (WHO), and World Bank interagency team regularly updates joint global and regional estimates of child malnutrition. These estimates of prevalence and numbers for child stunting, overweight, wasting, and severe wasting are derived by UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), UNICEF, WHO, and World Bank regions, as well as World Bank income group classifications. This data set consists of 806 national survey data that were standardized for purposes of analysis. Estimates are adjusted where necessary to be nationally representative and to cover the age range 0 to 5 years. As a result of making these adjustments, prevalence might be slightly different from the survey results reported elsewhere. UNICEF and WHO receive and review survey data from the published and gray literature as well as reports from national authorities on a continual basis. WHO maintains the WHO Global Database on Child Growth and Malnutrition, a repository of standardized anthropometric child data which has existed for 20 years (de Onis and Blössner 2003). UNICEF maintains a global database populated in part through its annual data collection exercise that draws on submissions from more than 150 country offices. Based on these data, with due consideration to potential biases and the views of local experts, UNICEF and WHO developed, and now maintain, a joint analysis data set of national child malnutrition prevalence estimates for children under 5 years of age for all countries or territories annually using available survey data since 1985. Prevalences are based on the WHO Child Growth Standards (WHO 2006) median for (1) stunting—proportion of children with height-for-age below -2 standard deviations (SD); (2) underweight—proportion of children with weight-for-age below -2 SD; (3) wasting—proportion of children with weight-for-height below -2 SD; (4) overweight—proportion of children with weight-for-height above +2 SD. Resource Watch shows only a subset of the data set. For access to the full data set and additional information, see the Learn More link.

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Formal name

Joint Child Malnutrition Estimates (2017 edition)


All estimates are presented with 95% confidence intervals to show the level of uncertainty around them. These intervals are important to consider when interpreting estimates. The 95% confidence interval highlights the range within which one can be 95% certain that the true value lies. A wide interval reflects higher uncertainty compared to a narrow one.

Suggested citation

World Health Organization. (year(s)) "Global Health Observatory Data Repository: Joint Child Malnutrition Estimates." Accessed through Resource Watch, (date).


United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
United Nations World Health Organization (WHO)
World Bank Group

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