In order to reach more children where it is most urgently needed, we must understand the scale of the wasting problem. The below provides more about what we know, and links to further information on the topic.

Malnutrition serves as the underlying cause of almost 50% of child deaths

Black et al. Lancet Series on Maternal and Child Nutrition. 2013

49.5 million children under 5 years old (7.3% of children around the world) were affected by wasting in 2018. This has barely budged from 52 million in 2011.

UNICEF-WHO-The World Bank: Joint child malnutrition estimates


Children suffering from wasting are up to 11 times more likely to die than their healthy peers

Olofin et al. 2013. Children suffering from severe acute malnutrition are 11.6 times more likely to die than a well-nourished child. Children suffering from moderate acute malnutrition are 3.4 times more likely to die than a well-nourished child.


Nearly 80% of children who complete treatment for wasting are cured

Shekar et al. 2017. This applies children with uncomplicated severe acute malnutrition.


Less than 20% of children suffering from wasting are able to access the treatment they need

Calculated based on: SAM: UNICEF Nutridash. 2016 Edition. MAM: WFP data for 2016.


The governments from 193 countries promised to reduce and maintain childhood wasting to less than 5% by 2025

WHO Global 2025 targets


For more information about wasting visit www.acutemalnutrition.org - a global hub of information for acute malnutrition, supported by No Wasted Lives.