Health Research Program

Malnutrition affects hundreds of millions of children worldwide, impacting their long-term growth and development. Over one-third of the children in developing countries are malnourished.

Malnutrition increases the chances of dying from common childhood illnesses such as diarrhea and respiratory infection. In addition, the physical and cognitive effects of severe malnutrition in the first two years of life can be irreversible, leading to impaired educational performance in childhood and reduced economic productivity in adulthood. Lack of adequate nutrition also contributes to maternal and infant deaths, as well as permanent adverse effects for newborn babies. Ensuring women and children have access to nutritious foods is crucial to forming strong and resilient societies.

USAID’s Health Research Program will aim to prevent global malnutrition by improving access to quality sources of nutrition for the most vulnerable populations. The Health Research Program recently held a regional consultation focusing on nutrition, along with water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) challenges amongst the poorest children residing in the urban areas of East Africa. Understanding the need for a multi-sectoral approach to these issues, the consultation involved a range of stakeholders including: members of ministries of health, urban planning and related ministries, nutrition and WASH program implementers, and researchers from Africa and other donors and global institutions. This regional dialogue will inform future investments and priorities for improving nutrition and WASH interventions.

To learn more about how the Health Research Program has worked to improve nutrition, please visit the Health Research Challenge for Impact  project website.  You can also find more information about overall USAID efforts to improve nutrition here.

1UNICEF 2016 Global Nutrition Report
3UNICEF 2016 Global Nutrition Report
4USAID: Role of Nutrition in Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths: Technical Guidance Brief