What is Wasting?

Wasting is a condition that occurs when a person’s weight is too low for their height as a result of malnutrition or other health problems. It is typically measured using a weight-for-height indicator. Wasting can occur due to a lack of sufficient nutrient intake, or due to increased nutrient requirements that are not being met.

Wasting can be caused by a range of factors, including inadequate food intake, poor dietary quality, disease, and environmental factors such as poor sanitation and unsafe drinking water. Wasting is particularly common among children under the age of five, who are more vulnerable to the effects of malnutrition due to their rapid growth and development.

Wasting can have serious consequences for health and well-being. It can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of infection, slow down physical and cognitive development, and increase the risk of mortality. Children who are wasted are also more likely to be stunted and vice versa, as both conditions are caused by malnutrition.

Preventing and treating waste requires a multi-sectoral approach that includes improving access to nutritious foods, promoting good health and hygiene practices, and addressing underlying social and economic factors such as poverty and inequality. In severe cases, medical treatment and nutritional supplementation may be necessary to address the immediate effects of malnutrition and prevent further health complications.

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