HEART Nutrition Topic Guide

Published on 1 October 2013

This Topic Guide has been compiled to provide an overview of undernutrition in the context of development. It covers the nature, scale and complex range of causes of undernutrition and summarises the evidence for what works to address the problem.

The Guide covers direct nutrition interventions (or nutrition specific development as it is often termed), indirect interventions (nutrition sensitive), and the global coordination structures, governance and funding which are essential for an enabling environment within which undernutrition can be successfully reduced.

The focus of this Guide is on undernutrition, defined as the outcome of insufficient (quantity and quality) of food intake (hunger) and repeated infectious diseases. Undernutrition includes being underweight for one’s age, too short for one’s age (stunted), underweight for one’s height (wasted), and deficient in vitamins and minerals (micronutrient malnutrition). This review does not focus on the other component of malnutrition, which is overnutrition.


Jessica Meeker

Knowledge Officer

Stephen Thompson

Research Fellow

Inka Barnett

Health and Nutrition Cluster Lead

Publication details

Meeker, J., Thompson, S. and Barnett, I.


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