The goal of WHO’s Nutrition programme in the Western Pacific Region is to assist Member States to develop and implement policy options to address the double burden of malnutrition – wasting, stunting, low birth weight and micronutrient deficiencies on one hand, and overweight, obesity and diet-related noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) on the other. Many countries in the Region continue to struggle with undernutrition, especially affecting infants in the first 1000 days – this accounts for 187 000 deaths of under-fives yearly. The Region overall faces increased marketing of unhealthy processed food products and rising obesity amid urbanization and economic growth. Collaboration between sectors and harmonization of actions between development partners is key to progress.
Adequate provision of nutrients, beginning with exclusive breastfeeding until six months, is crucial to ensure good physical and mental development and long-term health.
Effective nutrition actions exist but are not implemented on a large enough scale. WHO works with partners to help countries by monitoring nutritional status, advocating for supportive legal measures and policies, and helping to design, implement and monitor effective strategies and plans. Substantial benefits can be obtained by concentrating efforts from conception through the first two years of life, but at the same time a life-course approach is needed for good nutritional status at any age.
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