Menu ENN Search

Children who are both wasted and stunted are also underweight and have a high risk of death

Research snapshot1

Wasting and stunting tend to be addressed as separate issues, despite evidence of common causality and the fact that children may suffer simultaneously from both conditions (WaSt).

To answer outstanding questions about these children, a database of cross-sectional survey datasets (almost 1.8 million children) was analysed to determine the risks associated with WaSt, which children are most affected, and how best to reach them.

The analysis found that all children with WaSt were also underweight. Further investigation of the standards indicates that being <-2 z-scores weight-for-height (WHZ) and <-2 z-scores height-for-age (HAZ) translates to a maximum possible weight-for-age z-score (WAZ) of -2.35. The authors conclude that WaSt and “multiple anthropometric deficits” (i.e. being simultaneously wasted, stunted and underweight) are identical conditions. Therefore, as previous research indicates that mortality risk for “multiple anthropometric deficits” is high, the mortality risk for WaSt is high. The analysis also found that cases of WaSt can be detected with excellent sensitivity and good specificity using weight-for-age.

The authors conclude that routine reporting of the prevalence of WaSt should be encouraged and that therapeutic feeding programmes should cover WaSt cases, given the high mortality risk associated with the condition. Investigation of the extent to which current services are reaching WaSt cases and into treatment effectiveness, duration of treatment and relapse after cure (where they are being reached) is required. This analysis also contributes to a growing body of evidence suggesting that the conditions of being wasted and being stunted are positively associated with each other.

Read more...

Endnote

1Myatt M, Khara T, Schoenbuchner S et al. Children who are both wasted and stunted are also underweight and have a high risk of death: a descriptive epidemiology of multiple anthropometric deficits using data from 51 countries. Archives of Public Health. 2018;76:28. doi:10.1186/s13690-018-0277-1.

More like this

Resource: Children who are both wasted and stunted are also underweight and have a high risk of death: a descriptive epidemiology of multiple anthropometric deficits using data from 51 countries

Abstract Background: Wasting and stunting are common. They are implicated in the deaths of almost two million children each year and account for over 12% of...

FEX: Wasting and Stunting Technical Interest Group (WaSt TIG) meeting

On the 15th of January 2018 the Wasting and Stunting (WaSt) Technical Interest Group (TIG) held their third face-to-face meeting at Trinity College, Oxford. This group of 30...

FEX: Making connections: Joint meeting of WaSt Technical Interest Group and MAMI Special Interest Group

ENN coordinates two international technical groups, the Management of at-risk Mothers and Infants under six months Special Interest Group (MAMI SIG) and the Wasting and...

FEX: Children concurrently wasted and stunted: A meta- analysis of prevalence data of children 6-59 months from 84 countries

Research summary1 Location: Global What we know: Wasting and stunting are often present in the same geographical populations and can exist concurrently in the same children,...

The Wasting and Stunting (WaSt) project – investigating the relationship between wasting and stunting and exploring the implications for policy programmes and research

Donor: Irish Aid Collaborators: Technical Interest Group ENN project lead: Carmel Dolan Timeframe: 2014 - ongoing Background While wasting and stunting share many of the...

en-net: Recent papers of relevance to WaSt

Please find below a number of interesting abstracts which may be relevant to WaSt
1. Fentahun N, Belachew T, Lachat C. Determinants and morbidities of multiple...

FEX: Child wasting and stunting: Time to overcome the separation

A briefing note for policy-makers and programme implementers was released in June 2018 by the ENN-coordinated Wasting-Stunting Technical Interest Group (WaSt TIG). The brief,...

FEX: Wasting is associated with stunting in early childhood

Summary of published research1 Location: Africa, Asia, Latin America What we know already: Wasting and stunting are respectively short term and longer term conditions of...

FEX: Management of At risk Mothers and Infants (MAMI) meeting

A one-day meeting of the Management of At risk Mothers and Infants (MAMI)1 Special Interest Group (SIG) took place in London on 17 January 2018. The meeting was hosted by ENN...

FEX: Severe malnutrition in infants under six months old: outcomes and risk factors in Bangladesh

Summary of research1 Location: Bangladesh What we know: The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that infants under six months with uncomplicated severe acute...

Resource: Wasting and stunting—similarities and differences: Policy and programmatic implications

Abstract Wasting and stunting are often presented as two separate forms of malnutrition requiring different interventions for prevention and/or treatment. These two forms of...

FEX: The relationship between wasting and stunting: policy, programming and research implications

Summary of review1 This summary was prepared by Tanya Khara, an independent consultant engaged by the ENN on this review. The review was made possible by the generous support...

Resource: Concurrent wasting and stunting among under-five children in Niakhar, Senegal

Abstract The study describes the patterns of concurrent wasting and stunting (WaSt) among children age 6-59 months living in the 1980s in Niakhar, a rural area of Senegal...

FEX: Predicting coexistence of wasting and stunting in Guinea-Bissau: A secondary data analysis

Summary of MSc thesis1 By Abbi Sage Abbi Sage is a recent MSc graduate in Nutrition for Global Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She is now part...

FEX: MUAC vs WHZ in predicting mortality in hospitalised children under five years of age

Summary of research1 This research contributes to the evidence base regarding which anthropometric indicators identify malnourished sick children most at risk of death. Low...

Resource: Children concurrently wasted and stunted: A meta-analysis of prevalence data of children 6 – 59 months from 84 countries

Children can be stunted and wasted at the same time. Having both deficits greatly elevates risk of mortality. The analysis aimed to estimate the prevalence and burden of...

Blog post: Wasting and Stunting-making progress on understanding the links

Some of you will know that ENN has been coordinating a project with the expert steer of around 30 child growth and nutrition specialists from academia, donor and operational...

Wasting and Stunting-making progress on understanding the links

Friday 16th February, 2017 By Carmel Dolan, ENN Technical Director Some of you will know that ENN has been coordinating a project with the expert steer of around 30 child...

FEX: Relationships between wasting and stunting and their concurrent occurrence in Ghanaian pre-school children

Summary of research* Location: Ghana. What we know: Wasting is a short-term health issue, but repeated episodes may lead to stunting (long-term or chronic malnutrition). This...

FEX: Diagnostic criteria for severe acute malnutrition among infants under six months of age

Summary of research1 Location: Kenya What we know: Diagnosis of acute malnutrition in infants under six months old (U6M) is currently based on weight-for-length z score...

Close

Reference this page

Children who are both wasted and stunted are also underweight and have a high risk of death. Field Exchange 58, September 2018. p12. www.ennonline.net/fex/58/childrenwastandunderweight