Preventing undernutrition through multi-sectoral initiatives in Pakistan

This report was produced by PATH, AKU and HPI to provide a landscape analysis as an initial step to develop a multi-sectoral nutrition intervention in Pakistan through DFID-funded MQSUN project. The nutritional situation in Pakistan is a cause for much concern and hitherto intransigent to change. Although the proportion of underweight children under 5 years has declined from 38% to 32% between 2001 and 2011, during the same period stunting has increased from 37% to 44% and so has wasting, from 13% to 15%. Furthermore, a quarter of all newborn infants are born low birth-weight, which is unsurprising considering that 18% of women were underweight. In some districts the proportion of underweight women exceeds a third. Pakistan is also a country in economic transition where 19.3% of women of reproductive age are overweight and 9.5% obese with a marked difference between urban (15.7%) and rural areas (6.5%). Nutrition of adolescents is a cause for much concern and largely ignored; as many as 22% are stunted while 17% are obese or overweight.