Key Discoveries on Child Malnutrition Levels and Patterns: Insights From the Joint Report by UNICEF, WHO, and World Bank Group on Child Malnutrition Estimates of 2023 – Global

, the Joint Child Malnutrition Estimates Interagency Group of UNICEF, WHO and the World Bank updates its estimates of global and regional prevalence and figures for each indicator biennially. The 2023 edition includes global, regional, and national trends in stunting and overweight from 2000 to 2022, based on available primary data sources such as household surveys and latest estimates at the regional level.

An assessment of each country’s progress towards the 2030 target is summarized in the regional overview included in the brochure. However, the Joint Child Malnutrition Estimates (JME), released in 2023, revealed insufficient progress towards achieving the 2025 World Health Assembly (WHA) Global Nutrition Goals and SDG Target 2.2. Only about one-third of countries are “on track” to halve the number of stunted children by 2030, and evaluation is not possible for others.

Achieving the global goal of reducing the number of stunted children to 89 million by 2030 requires more focused efforts. At current progress, the 2030 target will be missed by 39.5 million children, of whom more than 80% will be living in Africa. Fewer countries are expected to reach the 2030 target of 3% overweight prevalence, with only one in six currently ‘on track’. Furthermore, nearly half of the countries are unable to assess progress towards their waste targets.

Gaps in the data available in some regions make it difficult to accurately assess progress towards global goals. Regular data collection is, therefore, important for monitoring and analyzing national, regional, and global developments in child malnutrition. The JME is a valuable resource for understanding the magnitude and pattern of undernutrition and overnutrition, and for guiding action towards achieving SDG target 2.2 increase.

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