Undernutrition in Children of Resource-poor Settings: Predictors, Treatment and Prevention


  • Ndohtabi Jerry Eyong
  • Mary Bi Suh Atanga
  • Lifoter Kenneth Navti


Undernutrition is a condition in which food and nutrient intakes are not adequate to meet physiological needs and maintain good health. Undernutrition remains a major public health problem, especially in children. An estimated 149 million children are stunted, 45 million are wasted and 45% of deaths in children under 5 are linked to undernutrition. The developmental, economic, social, and medical consequences of undernutrition are serious and lasting, for individuals and their families, communities, and countries, especially in resource-poor settings.

The objective of this review was to describe the predictors and to outline the best treatment and prevention strategies to combat undernutrition in children of resource-poor settings.

There is evidence of an association between birth weight, birth order, breastfeeding status, frequent illness, immunization, family size, family income, household food expenditure, sanitation, education level of parents, maternal decision-making, and undernutrition.

Treatment options include therapeutic foods and the use of antibiotics depending on the underlying cause and severity of the undernutrition. Prevention strategies must never exclude cash transfers and nutrition education.

This review has demonstrated that in resource-poor settings, access to nutritious food to combat undernutrition can be improved through interventions like cash transfers, food assistance, improved agricultural techniques, and educational programs to improve the knowledge, attitude, and practice of carers on undernutrition.