CORE Group’s Social and Behavior Change Working Group held a journal club discussion on stunting. The authors of this article challenge the current view that improving linear growth will subsequently lead to improvements in the correlates (delayed child development, reduced earnings, and chronic disease) of linear growth retardation and stunting. The authors suggest that current evidence and understanding of mechanisms does not support this causal thinking—with the exceptions of poor birth outcomes and difficult birth. Instead the authors state that linear growth retardation is associated with (but does not cause) delayed child development, reduced earnings in adulthood, and chronic disease. The main question posed to donors, program planners, and researchers is: Does a focus on linear growth retardation and stunting help to improve the well-being of children? Or is it an imperfect indicator? Join this thought-provoking discussion on what stunting really means and the impact of focusing on linear growth for population assessments and for program design and evaluation.
Article: Leroy, JL.; Frongillo, EA (2019). Perspective: What Does Stunting Really Mean? A Critical Review of the Evidence. Advances in Nutrition 10(2), 196–204. https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmy101.
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