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Introduction to the R4V Nutrition sector

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What is Nutrition?

Nutrition refers to the intake, absorption, and utilization of nutrients in relation to our body’s needs.
Good nutrition is the bedrock of survival and development, in particular in the youngest ones.

For example, well-nourished children are better able to grow, learn, play and participate in their communities. They are also more resilient in the face of crisis.

To know more on the determinants of adequate nutrition, please refer to UNICEF’s Conceptual Framework on the Determinants of Maternal and Child Nutrition, 2020.

What is malnutrition?

Malnutrition refers to deficiencies or excesses in nutrient intake, imbalance of essential nutrients or impaired nutrient utilization. Malnutrition exists in different forms. The double burden of malnutrition consists of both undernutrition and overweight, as well as diet-related noncommunicable diseases. Undernutrition manifests in four broad forms: wasting, stunting, underweight, and micronutrient deficiencies. Overweight can manifest as overweight or obesity, its severe forms.

Malnutrition is assessed by measuring height and weight, and/or middle-upper arm circumference (MUAC) and screening for clinical manifestations and biochemical markers. Indicators based on body measures like weight, height and age are compared to international standards and are most commonly used to assess the nutritional status of a population.

Table 1 on next page summarized the different forms of malnutrition, their definition and potential consequences.