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SADC - Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Vulnerability Assessment Committee


Malnutrition in children under-five

  Wasting (<-2SD) Stunting (<-2SD)
Lesotho 7.5% 34.7%
Malawi1 6.0% 49.0%
Mozambique2 5.5% 43.8%
Swaziland 2.2% 40.0%
Zambia 4.4% 39.9%
Zimbabwe 7.3% 41.3%

The assessment methodology linked nutritional surveys with household interviews in four of the six countries (Lesotho, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe). Findings are in line with larger studies that indicate stunting (height-for-age) rates in the 35 – 45% range. This is indicative of the high levels of chronic food insecurity and poverty in the region.

Wasting (weight-for-height) figures are below the 10% to 15% level expected in times of severe food shortages. Further deterioration in child nutritional status is feared as the food crisis worsens, as most of the households interviewed have already reduced the number of meals per day, reduced portion sizes and some are even skipping whole days without proper meals. For this reason, it will be very important to monitor changes in wasting levels amongst children under five years old as the crisis continues. Delayed food assistance in the region could result in a sharp rise in the number of malnourished children.

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