SEVERE ACUTE MALNUTRITION
Severe acute malnutrition is characterized by major weight loss. According to UNICEF, nearly 20 million children under the age of five years suffer from severe acute malnutrition. This form of malnutrition is the stage at which the risk of death for children under the age of five years is the highest. It requires medical emergency and rapid management. Acute malnutrition can take multiple forms including marasmus (severe emaciation) and kwashiorkor (edematous malnutrition). This type of malnutrition is diagnosed in children with a weight to height ratio of less than -3 Z-scores.
MODERATE ACUTE MALNUTRITION
Moderate acute malnutrition is defined by a more moderate weight loss compared to severe acute malnutrition. More than 30 million children suffer from moderate acute malnutrition. Due to their susceptibility to disease, these children are at a higher risk of death and can rapidly deteriorate to severe acute malnutrition, at which stage their risk of death is further enhanced. The weight to height ratio of a child diagnosed with moderate acute malnutrition is of between -3 and -2 Z-scores.
165 million children suffer from this form of malnutrition worldwide. Chronic malnutrition develops slowly when the child's diet is not balanced. A child suffering from chronic malnutrition for an extended period may display stunted growth. As his/her immune defenses are impaired, he/she is at greater risk of diseases such as malaria, diarrhea, etc. A child identified as suffering from chronic malnutrition possesses a height to age ratio of less than -2 Z-scores.