Outcomes Nutritional status

Wasting in children under 5 years


Proportion of children 0–59 months who are more than two standard deviations below the median weight for height of the WHO Child Growth Standards. Children more than three standard deviations below the median are classified as severely wasted, while those between 2 and 3 standard deviations below the median are moderately wasted. Regional data, where disaggregated, is based on the population weighted means of all constituent countries with available data.


Wasting, or acute malnutrition, is the loss of body weight relative to height that results from inadequate nutrition and infection. Wasting increases the risk of death and disease, and is a relatively short-term condition as compared to stunting. Countries with pronounced lean seasons, in which households experience heightened food insecurity and infections, often experience seasonal fluctuations in prevalence of wasting.