Stunting and catch-up growth

While overall levels of stunting have fallen, across our four study countries the poorest children are as likely to be stunted as ever. The problem is increasingly concentrated among the most marginalised children, with implications for their cognitive development, health, performance at school and social and emotional well-being.

Some children are able to recover from early stunting while others falter in their growth after infancy. Poorer children are more likely to see a dip in their physical development, while better-off children are more likely to recover after a shaky start, so the gulf between them widens even more as they grow up.

Young Lives children have seen positive changes in their communities, including the provision of services such as clean water, sanitation and healthcare. However, poorer households and those in rural areas are still less likely to have access to these services, and continue to be at risk of recurrent illness as a result, deepening their vulnerability and the fragility of their livelihoods.

Latest research: Stunting and catch-up growth

The effect of early childhood stunting on children's cognitive achievements: Evidence from Young Lives Ethiopia
Journal Article
Birth Size, Stunting and Recovery from Stunting in Andhra Pradesh, India: Evidence from the Young Lives Study
Journal Article
Children with access to improved sanitation but not improved water are at lower risk of stunting compared to children without access: a cohort study in Ethiopia, India, Peru, & Vietnam
Journal Article
Maternal Undernutrition and Childbearing in Adolescence and Offspring Growth and Development
Maternal Undernutrition and Childbearing in Adolescence and Offspring Growth and Development: Is Adolescence a Critical Window for Interventions Against Stunting?
Working paper
The Sooner The Better But It’s Never Too Late
The Sooner The Better But It’s Never Too Late: The Impact of Nutrition at Different Periods of Childhood on Cognitive Development
Working paper
Stunting in Infancy Is Associated with Decreased Risk of High Body Mass Index for Age at 8 and 12 Years of Age
Journal Article
Rural–Urban Child Height for Age Trajectories and Their Heterogeneous Determinants in Four Developing Countries
Journal Article
Does Pre-school Improve Cognitive Abilities among Children with Early-life Stunting?
Journal Article

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