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Enhancing resilience to nutritional shocks - 2020 Resilience Conference Brief 17

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SHOCKS AND MALNUTRITION

Although undernutrition is trending downward globally, 165 million children in low‐income countries were stunted (that is, had low height for age) in 2011; others suffered from deficiencies in micronutrients. Overall, undernutrition contributed to 3.1 million deaths in 2011. This burden reflects underlying conditions of poverty, limited access to health and sanitation, and insufficient time and information for adequate childcare. In addition to being consequences of these protracted obstacles, malnutrition rates are also heightened by climatic, political, and economic shocks.

For example, drought and civil unrest (independently as well as jointly) contributed to increased stunting in Zimbabwe, and subsequently this stunting led to reduced schooling. Moreover, even a modest rain shortfall, far less dramatic than those that generate international attention, may result in reduced linear growth and schooling. Nor are these negative outcomes confined to conflict‐ and drought‐affected economies; the incidence of low birth weight increased with the economic contraction in Argentina in 2001–2002, with both contraction of gross domestic product and reduced health expenditures per capita independently explaining this outcome.

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