A brief guide to malnutrition and its impact globally and in Bangladesh.


  • Malnutrition affects 2 billion people in the world.
  • 45% of deaths of children underfiveyears of age are attributable to under-nutrition.
  • Malnutrition is an underlying cause of death of 2.6 million children each year – a third of child deaths globally.
  • Around 160 million children under five years of age worldwide are affected by stunting.
  • Vitamin A deficiencycauses157,000 child deaths a year, andzinc deficiency116,000 child deaths.

In Bangladesh…

  • More than half the population suffers from malnutrition.
  • Severe acute malnutrition affects 450,000 children, while close to 2 million children have moderate acute malnutrition.
  • Anaemiaaffects 52% of children under five years of age.
  • 41% of children underfive years of ageare stunted.
  • 16% of children underfive years of ageare wasted.
  • 36% of children under five years of ageare underweight.
  • A quarter of women are underweightand around 15% have short stature, which increases the risk of difficult childbirth and low-birth-weight infants.
  • Half of all women suffer from anaemia, mostly nutritional in origin.
  • Malnutrition is estimated to cost Bangladesh more than US$1bn every year in lost productivity.


Stunting:abnormally low height-for-age.
Wasting:abnormally low weight-for-height.
Underweight:abnormally low weight-for-age.



Branca F, Piwoz E, Schultink W, Sullivan LM. Nutrition and health in women, children, and adolescent girls.

BMJ. 2015;351:h4173.

Black RE et al. Maternal and Child Nutrition Study Group. Maternal and child undernutrition and overweight in low income and middle income countries. Lancet. 2013;382:427-51.