Wasting is an acute and life-threatening form of malnutrition. The United Nations estimates that of the 45 million children under the age of five who are wasted, 13 million are severely wasted. One in five deaths among children under five is attributable to severe wasting. Although often associated with emergency situations and food insecurity, wasting affects children in more stable contexts, too. Because wasted children have a high risk of mortality, reducing the burden of wasting is a public health priority, featured in the World Health Assembly targets and the Sustainable Development Goals.
USAID Advancing Nutrition is helping USAID build evidence on effective and sustainable ways to prevent and treat wasting. This includes strengthening coordination and collaboration between USAID partners and projects, documenting new and innovative products and food-based approaches, and understanding contextual factors that may influence program design and quality.