Global, Regional and Country Trends in Underweight and Stunting as Indicators of Nutrition and Health of Populations

Speaker: L. Neufeld Presented at: 78th Nestle Nutrition Institute Workshop, Oman

Summary

How can we use data on nutritional indicators to assess the nutritional status of a population? Dr. Lynnette Neufeld introduces this topic by describing the key parameters and how these apply to a population as a whole. Measures such as body mass index, height, weight, and weight-for-age provide valuable insight into a population as a whole. Neufeld explains how each of these relates to nutritional status, highlighting the pros and cons of each when used to assess an entire population. Using the WHO 2006 reference standards, global data reveals discrepancies in our attempts at eradicating stunting and wasting. Here, Neufeld reveals the importance of evaluating underweight, wasting, overweight and stunting in order to gain a clear picture of the nutritional status of a country. These data enable us to stratify a population in order to target the vulnerable subgroups using the appropriate interventions. Data collection is thus a powerful tool to guide health intervention strategies for achieving optimal results.