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Scaling Up Nutrition : What Will it Cost?


  • Susan Horton
  • Meera Shekar
  • Christine McDonald
  • Ajay Mahal
  • Jana Krystene Brooks


Undernutrition imposes a staggering cost worldwide, both in human and economic terms. It is responsible for the deaths of more than 3.5 million children each year (more than one-third of all deaths among children under five) and the loss of billions of dollars in forgone productivity and avoidable health care spending. Individuals lose more than 10 percent of lifetime earnings, and many countries lose at least 2-3 percent of their gross domestic product to undernutrition. The current economic crisis and its potential impact on the poor make investing in child nutrition more urgent than ever to protect and strengthen human capital in the most vulnerable developing countries. This report offers suggestions on how to raise these resources. It is an investment we must make. It will yield high returns in the form of thriving children, healthier families, and more productive workers. This investment is essential to make progress on the nutrition and child mortality Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to protect critical human capital in developing economies. The human and financial costs of further neglect will be high. This call for greater investment in nutrition comes at a time when global efforts to strengthen health systems provide a unique opportunity to scale up integrated packages of health and nutrition interventions, with common delivery platforms, and lower costs. The report has benefited from the expertise of many international agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and research institutions. The cooperation of so many practitioners is evidence of a growing recognition of the need to invest in nutrition interventions, and a growing consensus about how to deliver effective programs.

Suggested Citation

  • Susan Horton & Meera Shekar & Christine McDonald & Ajay Mahal & Jana Krystene Brooks, 2010. "Scaling Up Nutrition : What Will it Cost?," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2685, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbpubs:2685

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    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Alderman, Harold & Behrman, Jere R. & Glewwe, Paul, 2015. "A framework for physical growth and child development:," IFPRI discussion papers 1435, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Ecker, Olivier & Van Asselt, Joanna, 2017. "Food and nutrition security in transforming Ghana: A descriptive analysis of national trends and regional patterns," IFPRI discussion papers 1650, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. repec:spr:endesu:v:20:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s10668-017-9945-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. World Bank, 2017. "Operationalizing a Multi-Sectoral Approach for the Reduction of Stunting in Indonesia," World Bank Other Operational Studies 26409, The World Bank.
    5. Lentz, Erin C. & Barrett, Christopher B., 2013. "The economics and nutritional impacts of food assistance policies and programs," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 151-163.
    6. Ecker, Olivier & Breisinger, Clemens, 2012. "The food security system: A new conceptual framework," IFPRI discussion papers 1166, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    7. Stuart Gillespie & Mara van den Bold, 2016. "Stories of Change in Nutrition: A Tool Pool," Working Papers id:8225, eSocialSciences.
    8. Lubina F. Qureshy & Harold Alderman & Claudia Rokx & Rebekah Pinto & Matthew Wai-Poi & Ajay Tandon, 2013. "Positive returns: cost-benefit analysis of a stunting intervention in Indonesia," Journal of Development Effectiveness, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(4), pages 447-465, December.
    9. Gillespie, Stuart & van den Bold, Mara, 2015. "Stories of change in nutrition: A tool pool:," IFPRI discussion papers 1494, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    10. Olivier Ecker & Marc Nene, 2013. "Nutrition Policies in Developing Countries: Challenges and Highlights," Working Papers id:5241, eSocialSciences.
    11. Jessica Fanzo, "undated". "The Nutrition Challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa," UNDP Africa Policy Notes 2012-012, United Nations Development Programme, Regional Bureau for Africa.
    12. Ecker, Olivier & Mabiso, Athur & Kennedy, Adam & Diao, Xinshen 22905, 2011. "Making agriculture pro-nutrition: Opportunities in Tanzania," IFPRI discussion papers 1124, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    13. repec:spr:ssefpa:v:10:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s12571-017-0758-z is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Laviolette, Luc & Gopalan, Sudararajan & Elder, Leslie & Wouters, Olivier, 2016. "Incentivizing nutrition: how to apply incentive mechanisms to accelerate improved nutrition outcomes: a practitioner’s compendium," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 68711, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    15. Laviolette, Luc & Gopalan, Sudararajan & Elder, Leslie & Wouters, Olivier, 2016. "Incentivizing nutrition: incentive mechanisms to accelerate improved nutrition outcomes," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 68710, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    16. Linnemayr, Sebastian & Alderman, Harold, 2011. "Almost random: Evaluating a large-scale randomized nutrition program in the presence of crossover," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 106-114, September.
    17. repec:spr:ssefpa:v:10:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s12571-017-0750-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Caroline Krafft, 2015. "The Determinants of Child Health Disparities in Jordan," Working Papers 950, Economic Research Forum, revised Sep 2015.


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