Media releases and reports

Undernourished and Overlooked

A Global Nutrition Crisis in Adolescent Girls and Women.

Undernourished and Overlooked: A Global Nutrition Crisis in Adolescent Girls and Women is UNICEF’s first comprehensive report that examines the status, trends, and inequities in nutrition in adolescent girls and women aged 15–49 –years.  

The new report reveals the number of pregnant and breastfeeding adolescent girls and women suffering from acute malnutrition has soared from 5.5 million to 6.9 million – or 25 per cent – since 2020 in 12 countries (Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Yemen). 

It also estimates that of the 51 million children under two years old who suffer from stunting*, about half become stunted during pregnancy and the first six months of life. This is a critical 500-day period when a child is fully dependent on maternal nutrition and raises the alarm on the need to urgently scale up investment in essential nutrition programmes for adolescent girls and women.  

The report also provides an analysis of the barriers girls and women face when trying to access nutritious diets and nutrition information and services.  

UNICEF analysed data from more than 190 countries and territories, representing more than 90 per cent of adolescent girls and women globally. 

Read the full report here.

*Stunting refers to when a child is drastically below the average height for their age and is caused by severe malnutrition and frequent illnesses. It not only affects a child’s physical growth but also affects brain development making it difficult for children to learn and perform well in school.