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It is a very common form of malnutrition associated with children being undersized (also known as growth retardation). The small size is not in itself a problem unless it is associated, as is often the case, with poor cognitive development.
There are two types of causes – those associated with a mother’s pregnancy and those associated with a child’s care from 0 to 2 years. Regarding pregnancy, difficulties and diseases encountered by an expecting mother can lead to premature birth or delayed fetal growth within the uterus. These two problems can increase the risk of stunting.
Thirteen simple public health measures have been proven capable of reducing the problem of stunting by a third. Most of these measures are of a preventive nature.
This is just what our research project may show. The forms that growth stunting takes in Africa, Asia and South America involve different approaches, something that has not yet been fully considered by the WHO.
The very high prevalence of stunting in South Asia may have a paradoxical resilient effect in children, protecting them against mortality from acute malnutrition – but at the cost of non-fatal growth retardation, specifically stunted physical and cognitive development.
Every year, Terre des hommes offers sustainable solutions and a better future for over two million children and their relatives.Learn more about our health projects.