‘Much Still Needs To Be Done’ To Prevent Severe Acute Malnutrition In Children

A Lancet editorial examines the global crisis of severe acute malnutrition in children, noting “19 million children younger than five years had severe acute malnutrition (SAM) worldwide in 2011, most of whom lived in Africa and southeast Asia,” and “more than seven percent of all deaths in this age group were attributable to this disorder.” The editorial states, “These shocking numbers — calculated as part of the 2013 Lancet Series on Maternal and Child Nutrition — highlight how seriously the global problem of SAM should be taken.” The Lancet notes the release of new WHO guidelines for managing SAM in young children, writing, “If the actions recommended in the new WHO guidelines are implemented, many children with SAM could recover each year.” The Lancet concludes, “However, much still needs to be done to address the crisis. Robust data are scarce and many research priorities have been identified. And importantly, interventions must be widely introduced to improve nutrition overall and reduce the numbers of children who develop SAM in the first place” (12/7).