Promoting healthy growth and preventing childhood stunting
As part of the work on implementing the project “Promoting healthy growth and preventing childhood stunting”, the World Health Organization has worked with various experts to prepare nine papers for a supplement of the Maternal and Child Nutrition Journal. The papers will contribute to ongoing reflections on multiple aspects of the challenges presented by a World Health Assembly 2012 target for stunting reduction and ways to address them.
The first article describes the background and rationale for the global goal on stunting reduction, presents forecasts of prevalence and numbers of stunted children to 2025, and proposes a methodology to adapt the global target at the national level. A second paper presents a conceptual framework centred on stunted growth and development with special emphasis on the contribution of inadequate complementary feeding to childhood stunting in the critical period of 6 to 24 months of age. Throughout the supplement the authors emphasize the need for nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions and the role of multiple sectors.
Specific themes covered in the supplement include: the feasibility of upward shifts in adult heights within a generation; the economic rationale for investing in stunting reduction; principles and practices of nutrition advocacy in support of stunting reduction; a set of principles that should be applied in programme planning, implementation and evaluation to improve complementary feeding interventions; and a description of tools to help in developing context-specific feeding recommendations. Finally, a case study is presented on the process for integrating infant and young child feeding indicators into national monitoring systems.
This supplement is a contribution by WHO to countries’ efforts to meet the challenge of stunting and to reach the target of its reduction by 40% for 2025.