UNICEF is dedicated to empowering children's nutrition through sustainable and healthy food access. Discover our efforts to provide safe and nourishing meals for kids everywhere.

Nutrition

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Improving access to nutritious, safe, affordable and sustainable food for kids!


When children have access to healthy, nutritious food, they are better able to grow, learn, and play while also building resilience to face crisis.


Despite the impact of poverty, climate change, conflict and disasters - the generosity of donors is helping us close the nutrition gap for kids everywhere.

  • 80

    percent

    of the world's life-saving therapeutic food is procured by UNICEF.

  • 2.6

    million

    children were treated for severe acute malnutrition in 2022.

  • 130

    countries

    benefit from UNICEF nutrition programmes for kids, youth and women.

ExpertiseExperienceReach

Donor support has helped us reach the most vulnerable children for over 76 years!


In that time we've developed a global network of reliable partners, and an incredibly dedicated team that help us provide life-saving medicine, nutritious foods, training for community health workers and parents, screenings for malnutrition and improved access to healthcare services.

Together, we’re giving every child the head start they deserve! 

UNICEF Aotearoa nutrition - Young smiling child eating watermelon

Early Childhood Development

During the first 1,000 days the brain grows faster than any other period in your life – and it's good nutrition that provides the building blocks for cognitive abilities, motor skills, and emotional development.  

That's why we run nutrition programmes in 130 countries to support parents around the world like Naomi and her beaming 6-month-year-old baby Critious on their journey through these key early moments in life. 

"I am so happy to be a mother because my child smiles a lot and brings me much joy ... I attend the Growth Monitoring Program, where my baby is weighed and screened (for malnutrition). I have also learned about the importance of giving your children a balanced diet."

—Naomi Mbewe 

Preventing malnutrition with MUAC

Green means go. Red, stop and urgently treat. Our goal? Avoid red altogether. 

Prevention starts with easy-to-use, innovative and low-cost Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) bands. We provide them to parents like Teresa throughout the drought-stricken Horn of Africa so they have the knowledge and means to quickly detect severe-acute malnutrition (known as severe wasting).

“Today was important because I learnt how to monitor Samuel for malnutrition and was given a MUAC band so I can do it myself.”

Prevention is just as important as treatment if we’re to help kids like Baby Samuel who is among 10 million children at risk of malnutrition in a region shadowed by famine. 

Mother in Horn of Africa holding young child and Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) band to help detect severe-acute malnutrition
Simple but impactful innovations are helping us move towards UNICEF's 2030 target of ending all forms of malnutrition globally – a condition affecting 1 in 3 children. To help us on our journey, another lifesaving innovation hidden in a small package is helping us fight malnutrition.
Decorative Yellow wavy stroke on bottom right

Heard of RUTF?

Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food – small but mighty! 

 

They may not look like much, but these low-cost sachets literally save lives. Inside is an energy dense and nutrient rich peanut paste used to treat millions of kids around the world suffering from severe acute malnutrition – one of the leading causes of deaths for children under 5-years-old – in just a matter of weeks! 

One year ago, Parwana was so severely malnourished, her mother feared she wouldn’t make it. It was thanks to Ready-to-use Therapeutic Foods, or RUTF that today, Parwana skips, giggles and nags her mum to get her to school on time.

In most cases, kids suffering from malnutrition can be treated with RUTF, allowing them to recover in their own homes and communities rather than in a health facility. 

That's why we procure and distribute an estimated 75-80 per cent of the world’s RUTF supply, so parents can easily access and manage this effective means of overcoming malnutrition! 

The climate crisis is a nutrition crisis!

Kids are the least responsible for climate change, and yet they will bear the greatest burden of its impact. Natural disasters, environmental degradation, and loss of biodiversity can be devastating for farming, cutting children off from nutritious foods.

We must protect children against the impacts of climate change and give them a seat at the table to be part of the solutions.

Here are just a handful of ways we're helping everyone get engaged, involved and doing their bit for the future of kids around the world.

We supported youth ambassadors to join us in holding world leaders to account at COP27.

UNICEF nutrition programme - Woman in Zambia running fingers through grains

Our nutrition programmes are empowering female farmers to tackle hunger for communities like this one in Zambia.

UNICEF summer camp - young girl smiling while attending to garden

UNICEF climate-focused summer camps raise awareness of environmental issues driving kids to create change.

child holding sign that says 'I choose eco"

We support children and young people to take part in demonstrations demanding urgent climate action.

We’re committed to transparency. To see how we split up expenses and manage our costs, read our annual report or visit UNICEF Open to see a live overview of all our projects.

world map

UNICEF Aotearoa is a registered charity with the New Zealand Charities Commission (CC35979), making you eligible for a tax refund of up to a third of your donation. All transactions are billed in New Zealand dollars.

UNICEF Aotearoa operates from Level 5, 86 Victoria Street, Wellington 6011, New Zealand.