Good nutrition is vital to a child's growth and development. A lack of nutritious food with all the essential micronutrients can result in a child’s normal development being impaired, resulting in ill health, disability, inability to benefit from educational opportunities, or death.
Indicators for Nutrition
- Child Hunger
This indicator shows the number and proportion of children living in households where children were reported to go hungry “sometimes”, “often” or “always” because there wasn’t enough food.
- Low birth-weight
The low birth-weight rate refers to the proportion of babies born alive who weigh less than 2,500g at birth.
- Stunting in children
A healthy child grows by 5 – 7 cm each year from the age of one until adolescence. There are cut-offs for height or length based on globally accepted standards.1 Stunting is present when a child’s height-for-age is less than -2 standard deviations from the mean. A child, whose height-for-age score is less than -3 standard deviations, is severely stunted.
- Wasting in children
A healthy child gains approximately 2 – 3 kg of body weight each year from the age of one until adolescence. There are cut-offs for weight based on globally accepted standards.1 Wasting is present when the child’s weight-for-height is less than -2 standard deviations from the mean. If a child’s weight-for-height score is less than -3 standard deviations, the child is considered to be severely wasted.
- Iron deficiency in children
This indicator reflects the percentage of children aged 1 - 9 years who are iron deficient (have a low serum ferritin level) or suffer from anaemia due to iron deficiency.
- Vitamin A deficiency in children
This indicator refers to the percentage of children aged 1 – 9 years with a low serum retinol level (<20ug/dL), meaning that these children have marginal or inadequate vitamin A status. Children are considered to suffer from severe vitamin A deficiency if their serum retinol levels are significantly low (<10ug/dL).
Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index
The Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index (HANCI) ranks governments on their political commitment to tackling hunger and undernutrition. The index was created to provide greater transparency and public accountability by measuring what governments achieve, and where they fail, in addressing hunger and undernutrition.
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- ↑ Children's Institute, "Nutrition", Statistics on children in South Africa, retrieved on 23 June, 2011 from: http://www.childrencount.ci.org.za/domain.php?id=4
Health, Nutrition and Population Statistics Data from The World Bank, starting from 1960.
Thematic Health Nutrition Population Data from The World Bank.