Malnutrition and Poverty Traps in OIC Countries: Evidence and Policy Responses

Malnutrition and hunger are the number one risk factors for illness worldwide (UN Millennium Project 2005). Globally, 13.1 per cent of people are undernourished and the effect of malnutrition is most severe for children under five years. More than one quarter of children are too short for their age due to nutritional deficiencies and the proportion of children dying before the age of five is 4.9 per cent (von Grebmer et al. 2015).

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), underweight is the largest cause of deaths and disability-adjusted life years in children under five years. Underweight and other nutrition risks (suboptimal breastfeeding, deficiency of vitamin A, zinc, iron and iodine) often coexist and contribute to the same disease outcomes. Because of overlapping effects, malnutrition was responsible for 3.1 million child deaths, 45 per cent of all under five deaths, in 2011 (Black 2013).

As the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) region mostly comprises of developing countries, the average Global Hunger Index (GHI) is very high, at 21, which signals serious hunger level. Twenty-six out of 46 OIC countries have a GHI index above 20, i.e. serious levels of hunger (von Grebmer et al. 2015). OIC countries were host to one-third of stunted children in the world in 2009-2013, and 20 per cent were underweight. Many OI countries are also prone to “the double burden of malnutrition” where under- and over-nutrition coexist – sometimes at high levels.

This projects aims to study the links between malnutrition and poverty and between maternal and child malnutrition in OIC countries. This will be done in three phases:

  • First, a conceptual framework will be drawn, with a special focus on poverty and malnutrition and on maternal and child malnutrition. The international agenda around malnutrition will also be discussed.
  • Second, we will document the state of malnutrition in OIC member states with the use of quantitative data.
  • Third, we will conduct an in-depth analysis of the links between malnutrition and poverty as well as nutrition-specific and nutrition -sensitive interventions in five selected countries (Bangladesh, Senegal, Indonesia, Egypt and Tajikistan).

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Project details

start date
11 July 2016
end date
23 March 2017


About this project