Global Nutrition Targets 2025: Stunting policy brief

World Health Organization

stunting policy brief cover

Publication details

Editors: World Health Organization
Number of pages: 9
Publication date: 2014
Languages: English (2014), French (2017), Spanish (2017)
WHO reference number: WHO/NMH/NHD/14.3


Policy brief


Childhood stunting is one of the most significant impediments to human development, globally affecting approximately 162 million children under the age of 5 years. Stunting, or being too short for one’s age, is defined as a height that is more than two standard deviations below the World Health Organization (WHO) child growth standards median.

It is a largely irreversible outcome of inadequate nutrition and repeated bouts of infection during the first 1000 days of a child’s life. Stunting has long-term effects on individuals and societies, including: diminished cognitive and physical development, reduced productive capacity and poor health, and an increased risk of degenerative diseases such as diabetes.

If current trends continue, projections indicate that 127 million children under 5 years will be stunted in 2025. Therefore, further investment and action are necessary to attain the 2025 World Health Assembly target of reducing that number to 100 million.

Related links