COVID-19's Impact on Global Nutrition
Responding to the Nutrition Crises of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Called to action by the unprecedented scope and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Standing Together for Nutrition Consortium (ST4N) brought together global experts in food systems, nutrition, health systems, and economics to quantify the scale of the problems, particularly in Low- and-Middle- Income (LMIC) countries.
In addition to the health crisis, the secondary effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have triggered three interrelated crises: a food crisis, a health crisis, and an economic crisis, particularly for the poor and vulnerable, impairing their health and earning potential.
The Disproportionate Impact on Women and Children
Women and children are the most affected by malnutrition – and that increases their vulnerability to disease and risk of death. Therefore, ST4N modeled the impact of the pandemic on malnutrition among these vulnerable populations in 118 low and middle-income countries.
Not only has COVID-19 exacerbated existing inequalities for women, but it has caused a cascade of events that impacted women disproportionately (inequalities in access to health care, less access to healthy food, increased pressure for early marriages, etc.).
The Consortium’s findings estimate that by 2022, there will be an estimated 4.8 million additional women with maternal anemia, an additional 13.6 million wasted children under the age of 5, and 3.6 million stunted children, thus, negatively impacting their brain development, growth, and earning potential. These high rates of malnutrition can impair immune response.
COVID-19: Exacerbating Malnutrition in Women and Girls
Considering these children’s weakened immune systems, our research also projects as many as 283,00 additional malnutrition-related deaths in children under 5 over 3 years. That is sadly equivalent to over 250 children dying per day. Longer-term, these additional child malnutrition cases are estimated to lead to an additional $44 billion in future economic productivity losses.
A Resilient Future: Investing today to safeguard tomorrow
Key Publications by ST4N About COVID-19 and Nutrition
Nature Foods: The potential impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on maternal and child undernutrition in low and middle-income countries
Nature (Brief Communication): COVID-19 pandemic leads to greater depth of unaffordability of healthy and nutrient-adequate diets in low- and middle-income countries
Associated Press: Hunger study predicts 168,000 pandemic-linked Child Deaths