Management of Severe and Moderate Acute Malnutrition in Children

Authors: Zulfiqar Bhutta, Kerri Wazny, Lindsey Lenters


Malnutrition—moderate acute malnutrition (MAM), severe acute malnutrition (SAM), and global acute malnutrition (GAM)— its risk factors and causes of undernutrition are discussed in this chapter, as well as the consequences of acute malnutrition. Additionally this chapter discusses (1) prevention and management of MAM; (2) treatment costs and cost-effectiveness of treatment of SAM; and (3) priorities for enhancing effectiveness of malnutrition management. Each year, approximately 5.9 million children world-wide die before their fifth birthday, and degrees of malnutrition remain associated with increased risk of all-cause mortality and increased risk of death due to diarrhea, pneumonia, and measles. But while GAM remains unacceptably high, progress toward reducing the prevalence of SAM and MAM has lagged behind reductions in stunting. Programs to reduce malnutrition prove a cost-effective investment that deserves high priority by national governments. Finding the balance of preventive and therapeutic strategies in varying contexts remains a major global priority and a clear focus of attention in the post-2015 agenda.


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