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INDICATOR 14: Prevalence of stunting among children under five years of age

(height for age <;-2 SD from the median of the WHO Child Growth Standards)

Why this indicator? What will it measure and provide information for?

This is a globally used indicator applied to local and national levels. Reflects impact of chronic stunting “most often due to prolonged exposure to an inadequate diet and poor health.” Reduction of stunting is a major objective in many countries; lifelong impacts on physical and mental capacity. (SDG Target 2.2 By 2030, end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving, by 2025, the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons.)

What Sustainable Development Goal is the indicator connected to?

SDG Goal 2.2, indicator 2.2.1 (green list, Nov 2015): Prevalence of stunting (height for age under 2 SD from the median of the WHO Child Growth Standards) among children under five years of age.

Definitions and key terms

Stunting:having a height (or length)-for-age more than 2 SD below the median of the NCHS/WHO international reference.

Data and information required to calculate the indicator

* Numerator: Number of children U5 who are stunted, disaggregated by sex.

* Denominator: Total number of children aged U5 years screened, disaggregated by sex.

Suggested method for data collection

* Primary data collection: anthropometric measurements

* Secondary data analysis.

* For more information:

* Qualitative methods like focus group discussions and key informants interviews should supplement the quantitative data collection to provide a better understanding of barriers and potential negative consequences of decreasing prevalence of stunting

Possible data sources

Primary data collection: anthropometric measurements

* Secondary data

* Local health care systems

* WHO Global Database on Child Growth and Nutrition (

* Demographic and Health Surveys (funded by USAID)

* Pan Arab Project for Child Development (PAPCHILD) survey (funded by Pan-Arab League and UNFPA)

* Living Standard Measurement Surveys (LSMS) and Social Dimensions of Adjustment (SDA) surveys in sub-Saharan Africa (funded by World Bank)

Resources needed for data collection

The quantitative and qualitative data collection, storage and analysis will have to be conducted by CARE and partners (potentially including research / university partners). It needs to be included in the monitoring and evaluation plan and budgeted for.

Reporting results for this indicator: number of people for which the change happened

* A change in the percentage of girls and boys U5 that are stunted.

Questions for guiding the analysis and interpretation of data (explaining the how and why the change happened, and how CARE contributed to the change)

* Calculation: 100 * (Cstunt / Ctot) where: Cstunt is the number of children U5 who are stunted, and Ctot is the total number of U5 surveyed.

* This indicator provides a measure of success, or failure, of the actions taken to combat problems of undernutrition and impaired physical development of children

Other considerations

* Reduced growth can also reflect problems of undernutrition, infection of other illnesses throughout the early years of life.

* Using stunting later in life as an indication of action also assumes that underweight children are surviving. Where rates of perinatal and infant mortality are high, this may not be the case, therefore the indicator needs to be applied and interpreted alongside other measures.

* Changing in stunting are long term; the likelihood is slim of seeing significant changes in the timeline of a project, so considerations must be made for long term measurement.

indicator_14.txt · Last modified: 2019/01/18 13:21 by admin