Prevalence of severe wasting, weight for height (% of children under 5) - Country Ranking

Definition: Severe wasting prevalence is the proportion of children under five whose weight for height is more than three standard deviations below the median for the international reference population ages 0-59.

Source: World Health Organization, Global Database on Child Growth and Malnutrition. Country-level data are unadjusted data from national surveys, and thus may not be comparable across countries. Adjusted, comparable data are available at http://www.who.int/nutgrowthdb/en. Aggregation is based on UNICEF, WHO, and the World Bank harmonized dataset (adjusted, comparable data) and methodology.

See also: Thematic map, Time series comparison

Find indicator:
Rank Country Value Year
1 Djibouti 9.10 2012
2 Timor-Leste 7.60 2009
3 Niger 6.90 2012
4 India 6.80 2006
5 Indonesia 6.70 2013
6 Papua New Guinea 6.50 2011
7 Mali 6.00 2006
8 Chad 5.90 2010
8 Burkina Faso 5.90 2010
8 Albania 5.90 2009
11 Madagascar 5.60 2004
12 Syrian Arab Republic 5.50 2009
13 Yemen 5.30 2013
14 Somalia 5.20 2009
15 São Tomé and Principe 4.90 2008
16 Egypt 4.80 2014
17 Saudi Arabia 4.50 2005
17 Sudan 4.50 2014
19 Comoros 4.40 2012
20 The Gambia 4.30 2013
20 Angola 4.30 2007
20 Sierra Leone 4.30 2013
23 Eritrea 4.20 2010
24 Tajikistan 4.10 2012
25 South Africa 4.00 2005
26 Ukraine 3.80 2000
27 Iraq 3.60 2011
28 Afghanistan 3.50 2004
29 Pakistan 3.30 2012
30 Botswana 3.20 2007
31 Bangladesh 3.10 2014
32 Sri Lanka 3.00 2012
33 Libya 2.90 2007
33 Lebanon 2.90 2004
33 Nepal 2.90 2011
36 Dem. Rep. Congo 2.80 2013
36 Namibia 2.80 2013
38 Zambia 2.50 2013
38 Ethiopia 2.50 2014
40 Philippines 2.40 2011
41 Mozambique 2.30 2011
41 Cambodia 2.30 2014
43 Thailand 2.20 2012
44 Myanmar 2.10 2009
44 Tonga 2.10 2012
46 Nigeria 2.00 2014
46 Bhutan 2.00 2010
46 Armenia 2.00 2010
46 Barbados 2.00 2013
46 Liberia 2.00 2013
46 Fiji 2.00 2004
52 Lao PDR 1.90 2011
52 Cameroon 1.90 2011
52 Central African Republic 1.90 2010
52 Mauritania 1.90 2012
56 Côte d'Ivoire 1.80 2012
57 Guyana 1.70 2014
57 Kazakhstan 1.70 2010
57 Tunisia 1.70 2012
57 Uzbekistan 1.70 2006
57 Equatorial Guinea 1.70 2010
62 Bosnia and Herzegovina 1.60 2012
62 Congo 1.60 2011
64 Uganda 1.50 2011
64 Vietnam 1.50 2010
64 Togo 1.50 2014
67 Solomon Islands 1.40 2007
67 Burundi 1.40 2010
67 Algeria 1.40 2012
67 Guinea-Bissau 1.40 2014
71 Haiti 1.30 2012
71 Gabon 1.30 2012
71 Tanzania 1.30 2010
71 Guinea 1.30 2012
71 Bulgaria 1.30 2004
76 Montenegro 1.20 2013
76 Belize 1.20 2011
76 Seychelles 1.20 2012
79 Jamaica 1.10 2004
79 Malawi 1.10 2014
79 Serbia 1.10 2014
79 Vanuatu 1.10 2013
79 Azerbaijan 1.10 2013
84 Czech Republic 1.00 2001
84 Rwanda 1.00 2010
84 Morocco 1.00 2011
87 Kenya 0.90 2014
87 Trinidad and Tobago 0.90 2000
87 Benin 0.90 2014
87 Tuvalu 0.90 2007
91 Dominican Republic 0.80 2013
91 Oman 0.80 2009
91 Kyrgyz Republic 0.80 2014
91 Suriname 0.80 2010
95 Hungary 0.70 1984
95 Zimbabwe 0.70 2014
95 St. Lucia 0.70 2012
95 Romania 0.70 2002
95 China 0.70 2010
95 Ecuador 0.70 2012
95 Jordan 0.70 2012
95 Senegal 0.70 2014
95 Ghana 0.70 2014
104 Kuwait 0.60 2014
104 Lesotho 0.60 2014
104 Belarus 0.60 2005
104 Georgia 0.60 2009
104 Dem. People's Rep. Korea 0.60 2012
109 Moldova 0.50 2012
109 Bolivia 0.50 2008
109 Nicaragua 0.50 2006
109 El Salvador 0.50 2008
109 Singapore 0.50 2000
114 Swaziland 0.40 2010
114 Mongolia 0.40 2013
114 Mexico 0.40 2012
114 Brunei 0.40 2009
114 Brazil 0.40 2007
114 Paraguay 0.40 2012
114 Turkey 0.40 2013
121 Panama 0.30 2008
121 Honduras 0.30 2012
121 Netherlands 0.30 1980
124 Japan 0.20 2010
124 Canada 0.20 1971
124 Argentina 0.20 2005
124 Colombia 0.20 2010
124 Guatemala 0.20 2009
124 Macedonia 0.20 2011
130 Peru 0.10 2012
130 Korea 0.10 2010
130 Germany 0.10 2005
133 Australia 0.00 2007
133 Uruguay 0.00 2011
133 United States 0.00 2012

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Development Relevance: Malnutrition is a serious public-health problem that has been linked to a substantial increase in the risk of mortality and morbidity. Many of the millions of low-birth-weight babies born annually face severe short-term and long-term health consequences. Women and young children bear the brunt of the disease burden associated with malnutrition. It perpetuates the problem across generations, as malnourished women are more likely to have low-birth-weight babies. Malnourished children have lower resistance to infection and are more likely to die from common childhood ailments such as diarrheal diseases and respiratory infections. Frequent illness saps the nutritional status of those who survive, locking them into a vicious cycle of recurring sickness and faltering growth. (UNICEF www.childinfo.org). Many factors can cause malnutrition. Undernourishment, a shortfall in the amount of food energy consumed on a regular basis, is an underlying cause, often compounded by severe and repeated infections and lack of micronutrients, particularly in underprivileged populations. Undernourishment in the general population is measured by average quantity of food calories available for human consumption per person; the distribution of food consumption; and the minimum calories required for an average person. For more information on the measurement of undernourishment, see the metadata for Prevalence of undernourishment (SN.ITK.DEFC.ZS). According to UNICEF good nutrition is the cornerstone for survival, health and development. Well-nourished children perform better in school, grow into healthy adults, and in turn give their children a better start in life. Well-nourished women face fewer risks during pregnancy and childbirth, and their children set off on firmer developmental paths, both physically and mentally. Undernourished children have lower resistance to infection and are more likely to die from common childhood ailments such as diarrheal diseases and respiratory infections. Malnutrition indicators help policymakers to quantify the increased risk associated with malnutrition, in terms of attributable mortality and morbidity. The estimates allow policy-makers to compare the disease burden of malnutrition for different countries, and enable resources to be deployed more effectively. Repeated assessments also allow trends to be monitored and the impact of interventions to be evaluated.

Limitations and Exceptions: New international growth reference standards for infants and young children were released in 2006 by the WHO to monitor children's nutritional status. Differences in growth to age 5 are influenced more by nutrition, feeding practices, environment, and healthcare than by genetics or ethnicity. The previously reported data were based on the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics-WHO growth reference. Because of the change in standards, the data in this release should not be compared with data published prior to 2008.

Statistical Concept and Methodology: Estimates of child malnutrition, based on prevalence of underweight, stunting, wasting and overweight, are from national survey data. For more information, consult the original sources.

Aggregation method: Linear mixed-effect model estimates

Periodicity: Annual