Anaemia: Anaemia is a medical condition in which a person’s red blood cell (or more precisely, haemoglobin) count is less than normal. Anaemia is a global issue faced by people in both low and high-income countries, and is a particular concern for adolescent girls and women of reproductive age.

Development assistance and official development assistance (ODA): ‘Development assistance’ (commonly known as aid) refers here to the resources transferred from development agencies (including private philanthropic organisations) to low and middle-income countries, and is therefore wider than the ‘official development assistance/ODA’ reported to the OECD DAC.

Diet-related Non-communicable disease (NCD) targets: Diet-related NCD targets are three of nine NCD targets adopted at the World Health Assembly in 2013, to be attained by 2025. For example, Target 4: Achieve a 30% relative reduction in mean population intake of salt.

Dietary diversity: Dietary diversity is a way of measuring food consumption and household access to a variety of foods. It is also used as a proxy measure for the nutrient adequacy of individual people’s diets.

Double duty actions: ‘Double duty’ is a coined term used to describe actions that can tackle more than one form of malnutrition at once. For example, effective promotion of breastfeeding can avert stunting, but also reduce the chances of NCDs later in life.

Double burdens: Double burdens are terms applied to countries or groups of people to describe the situation of facing more than one serious nutritional problem at once. They are also described as overlapping and coexisting burdens of the different forms of malnutrition, and include, for example, anaemia and overweight.

Food security and insecurity: Food security means people having secure access to enough safe and nutritious food for normal growth and development and to lead an active and healthy life. Food insecurity means the opposite. Food insecurity may be at the level of the household or across a geographical area.

Global nutrition targets: Global nutrition targets here refer to the World Health Assembly targets on maternal infant and young child nutrition, and diet-related NCDs.

Geospatial data: Geospatial data is data associated with a particular geographical location such as weather forecasts, satnavs and geotagged social media posts. Location is one way of disaggregating data alongside others such as wealth and gender. Using disaggregated geospatial data can help us understand where malnourished people are.

Integrated: Integrated is a term coined by the SDGs meaning ‘by everyone’. In the SDG context, it means that all the goals should be achieved in an indivisible way by everyone – by people making connections across all sectors and all parts of society.

Malnutrition: Malnutrition means having too little or too much to eat. In more technical terms, it’s a condition caused by having not enough, or having too many, macronutrients and micronutrients. Here we discuss types of malnutrition such as micronutrient malnutrition, child undernutrition and adult nutritional problems associated with excess eating. Malnutrition is universal: at least one in three people globally experience malnutrition in some form.

Maternal infant and young child nutrition targets: The maternal infant and young child nutrition targets are six global targets adopted at the World Health Assembly in 2012, for example, Target 1: Achieve a 40% reduction in the number of children under 5 who are stunted.

Micronutrient: Micronutrients are commonly known as vitamins and minerals. They include minerals such as include iron, calcium, sodium and iodine and vitamins such as vitamin A, B, C and D. Deficiency in micronutrients is caused by a lack of intake, absorption or use of one or more vitamins or minerals and leads to suboptimal nutritional status. Taking in too many of some micronutrients may also lead to adverse effects.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and diet-related NCDs: NCDs (also known as chronic diseases) are diseases that last a long time and progress slowly. There are four main types of NCDs: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. We refer to NCDs related to diet and nutrition as ‘diet-related NCDs’. These include cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.

Nutrition sensitive: Nutrition-sensitive interventions are funded interventions into sectors other than nutrition that address the underlying causes of nutrition, thereby indirectly addressing nutrition. Sectors include agriculture, health, social protection, early child development, education and water and sanitation. The causes they address include poverty, food insecurity, scarcity of access to adequate care resources, and health, water and sanitation services.

Nutrition specific: Nutrition-specific interventions are those which have a direct impact on the immediate causes of undernutrition (inadequate food intake, poor feeding practices and high burden of disease) such as breastfeeding, complimentary feeding, micronutrient supplementation and home fortification, disease management, treatment of acute malnutrition and nutrition in emergencies.

Obesity and overweight: A person is overweight or obese if they have excessive fat that may affect their health. Being obese means having more excessive fat than being overweight. The World Health Organization defines overweight in adults as a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 25, and obesity as a BMI greater than or equal to 30. Overweight in children is defined as weight-for-length or height z-score more than 2 standard deviations above the median of the WHO Child Growth Standards.

Policy marker: Policy markers are qualitative statistical tools used by aid donors to record activities that target particular policy objectives such as gender, and since July 2018, nutrition.

Purpose code: Purpose codes are used by donors reporting to the OECD DAC to capture where spending is going to a higher degree of accuracy than simply sector. The ‘basic nutrition’ purpose code captures some nutrition-specific spending in the health sector. In 2017 an improved nutrition purpose code was adopted.

Risk factor: A risk factor is an attribute or characteristic of a person or something they are exposed to that increases their chance of developing a disease or injury.

Stunting/stunted: Children who do not have enough nourishment to grow properly are ‘stunted’. Stunting is defined as length or height-for-age z-score more than 2 standard deviations below the median of the WHO Child Growth Standards. It is becoming increasingly clear that children who are stunted are more likely to become wasted.

Undernourished: Being undernourished means not being able to get enough food to meet the daily minimum dietary energy requirements, over a year.

Undernutrition: Undernutrition is a lack of proper nutrition, caused by not having enough food, not eating enough food containing substances necessary for growth and health, and other direct and indirect causes.

Underweight: Also known as moderate to severe thinness, a person is underweight when their weight (or BMI) is unhealthily low.

Wasting/wasted: Children who are too thin because of undernutrition are ‘wasted’. Wasting is defined as weight-for-length or height z-score more than 2 standard deviations below the median of the WHO Child Growth Standards. It is becoming increasingly clear that children who are wasted are more likely to become stunted.

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