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Wasting prevention survey - key terms

Acute malnutrition: acute malnutrition is a state of malnutrition that includes wasting and oedematous malnutrition (kwashiorkor) (see definitions for wasting and oedematous malnutrition). 

Anthropometric: body measurements used as a measure of an individual’s nutritional (anthropometric) status.

Concurrent wasting and stunting (WaSt): when a child is wasted and stunted at the same time.

Coverage: the extent to which a programme covers the needs of its target population. 

Environmental enteric dysfunction: a disorder of chronic intestinal inflammation, common in children living in low-resource settings.

Epigenetic: the study of heritable changes in gene expression (phenotype changes) that do not involve changes to the underlying DNA sequence (genotype changes).

Foetal growth restriction: also known as intrauterine growth restriction – a condition in which the baby’s growth slows or stops during pregnancy.

Growth failure: a growth rate below the appropriate growth velocity for age.

Growth monitoring: an individual child’s growth (weight-for-age) is measured at intervals and the results plotted on a chart.

Height-for-age: a measure of stunting in children based on their height and age compared to an international standard.

Integrated management of childhood illness (IMCI): a strategy developed by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1995 that promotes an integrated approach to child health, focusing on the well-being of the whole child implemented by families and communities and health facilities.

Incidence: occurrence of new cases.

MAMI: an acronym for “management of at-risk mothers and infants under six months of age” which concerns the identification and care of at risk mothers and infants under 6 months, with particular interest in nutrition vulnerability. 

Microbiome: the microorganisms in a particular environment (in this case the gut).

Mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC): a measure of acute malnutrition. The circumference of the mid-upper arm is measured on a straight left arm (in right handed people) midway between the tip of the shoulder (acromium) and the tip of the elbow (olecranon).

Multi-sectoral approaches: approaches to improving nutrition that involve multiple sectors, typically health; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); agriculture; education and child protection.

NCDs: acronym for “non-communicable diseases” which are medical conditions or diseases that are non-infectious and non-transmissible among people (such as diabetes or heart disease).

Nutrition-sensitive approaches: approaches/ interventions that address the underlying causes of malnutrition (e.g. a programme that aims to reduce malnutrition through the provision of clean water).

Nutrition-specific approaches: approaches/ interventions that address the immediate determinants of malnutrition (e.g. vitamin A supplementation or community-based management of acute malnutrition).

Oedematous malnutrition: a form of acute malnutrition defined by the presence of bilateral pitting oedema (excessive fluids under the skin and in certain tissues, at a minimum on the dorsum of both feet).

Prebiotics: a form of dietary fibre that humans cannot digest, that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the human gut.

Prevalence: proportion of a population with a specific characteristic or condition at a given point in time.

Probiotics: live bacteria found in certain foods or supplements that have numerous health benefits.

Stunting: chronic malnutrition, also known as stunting, is a sign of ‘shortness’ and develops over a long period of time. In children and adults, it is measured through the height-for-age nutritional index.

WASH: an acronym that stands for “water, sanitation and hygiene”. WASH programmes promote universal, affordable and sustainable access to WASH.

Wasting: a sign of ‘thinness’ that develops as a result of recent rapid weight loss or a failure to gain weight. In children, it is commonly measured through the weight for height nutritional index or mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC). In adults, it is measured by body mass index (BMI) or MUAC.

Weight-for-age: a measure of children based on their weight and age compared to an international standard.

Weight-for-height: a measure of acute malnutrition or wasting of children over two years of age based on their weight and height compared to an international standard.

Weight-for-length: a measure of acute malnutrition or wasting of children under two years of age based on their weight and length compared to an international standard. 






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