Economic costs of childhood stunting to the private sector in low- and middle-income countries | The Lancet

28 July 2022

This peer-reviewed paper published on The Lancet in March 2022 examines the impact of childhood stunting on income loss of private sector workforce in low- and middle-income countries, quantifies losses in sales to private firms in LMICs due to childhood stunting, and estimates potential gains (benefit-cost ratios) if stunting levels are reduced in select high prevalence countries.

“The private sector also substantially shapes food systems, supply chains, and populations’ diet globally. Prevention of childhood malnutrition by food and agricultural sectors will require investment to integrate smallholder farms into global supply chains, improve quality assurance and food distribution, food fortification, promote sustainable practices to reduce food waste and build nutrition science capacity within LMICs. Moreover, engagement in advocacy for nutrition-friendly trade policies, use of social business models, and innovative use of existing technologies represent promising strategies to engage the private sector.

A new self-assessment tool for SMEs created by the Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network (SBN), Access to Nutrition Initiative, and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) supports firms to assess the availability, affordability and nutritious value of food produced, and offers recommendations for improving their performance and accountability. Further research is needed to build a case for investment to prioritize scaling-up commercial financing food value chains, which seek to produce and promote safe and affordable nutrition foods.”

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