Nutrition is particularly important for children because they are still growing and developing. 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).
- ↑ 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.