Levels and Trends in Low Height for Age
Authors: Gretchen Stevens, Christopher Paciorek, Mariel Finucane
Chapter 5 asserts that prioritizing improvements in height-for-age Z-scores (HAZ) in rural areas of high-burden countries remains an essential component of initiatives to improve child health and nutrition. Children’s nutritional status influences their survival, cognitive development, and lifelong health, as inadequate nutrition, together with infections, result in restricted linear growth. Achieving this goal may occur through policies that (1) improve households’ economic status and food security; (2) provide more equitable access to interventions and services, such as clean water and sanitation; (3) encourage breastfeeding and complementary feeding using local foods; and (4) offer case management of diarrhea and other infectious diseases. A second essential component of improvement initiatives focuses on the development and implementation of complementary policies and programs for children in urban settings. An increasing share of undernourished children live in cities, and these children remain susceptible to economic shocks affecting food prices and may face different barriers to accessing adequate nutrition than rural children.