THE STATE OF THE WORLD'S CHILDREN 2019. Children, food and nutrition

Growing well in a changing world


Date of publication:  01 Oct 2019 Publisher:  UNICEF Publication type:  Report / Study / Data

The UNICEF's 2019 State of the World's Children report explores for the first time in the last 20 years the issues of children and their relation to food and nutrition in a challenging global context. Regardless of the 21st century advances in food systems, a bigger number of children and adolescents are facing a lack of access to healthy diets, with more families becoming increasingly reliant on processed and ultra-processed foods that are low in healthy nutrients and high in saturated fat, sugar, and sodium.

The report’s key messages:

  • At least 1 in 3 children under 5 is undernourished or overweight and 1 in 2 suffers from hidden hunger, undermining the capacity of millions of children to grow and develop to their full potential;
  • The triple burden of malnutrition – undernutrition, hidden hunger and overweight – threatens the survival, growth and development of children, young people, economies and nations;
  • The triple burden of malnutrition is driven by the poor quality of children’s diets: 2 in 3 children are not fed the minimum recommended diverse diet for healthy growth and development;
  • Globalization, urbanization, inequities, humanitarian crises and climate shocks are driving unprecedented negative changes in the nutrition situation of children around the world;
  • Improving children’s nutrition requires food systems to deliver nutritious, safe, affordable and sustainable diets for all children;
  • Food environments are crucial. When healthy options are affordable, convenient and desirable, children and families make better food choices;
  • Investing in nutrition for children and young people is a cornerstone investment if the world is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

The State of the World's Children 2019 edition concludes with a series of recommendations, including an agenda that aims to put children's nutrition rights at the center of food systems.

Furthermore, the report comprises five additional regional briefs (East Asia and the Pacific, Eastern and Southern Africa, Latin America and Caribbean, South Asia, West and Central Africa) that analyze regional data and case studies, concluding with relevant policy recommendations.

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