Malnutrition is a common occurrence, particularly affecting children across Africa and Asia. According to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), nearly 200 million children under the age of 5 are stunted, wasted, or both, while approximately 340 million endure hidden hunger due to deficiency of essential vitamins and minerals.

In Nigeria, malnutrition affects over 35 million children under five, with 12 million stunted, 3 million wasted, and 23.5 million anemic. The 2023 Cadre Report revealed 17.7 million hungry people, with one million suffering from acute food insecurity. Malnutrition (undernourishment) in children and adults increased just as the annual inflation rate increased between 2008 and 2023.

Undernutrition manifests in 4 principal forms:

  • Acute malnutrition or Wasting: Characterized by a low weight for height, generally the result of weight loss associated with recent periods of starvation
  • Stunting or chronic malnutrition: Characterized by a low height for age, reflecting a sustained past episode or episodes of undernutrition
  • Underweight: Marked by a low weight for age in children, and BMI <18 in adults, arising inadequate food intake, past episodes of under nutrition or poor health conditions.
  • Undernourishment/chronic hunger: Reflects a continuous insufficient food intake to meet dietary energy requirements.

The Lagos Food Bank has been at the forefront combating undernutrition throughout Lagos, Nigeria through the Nutritious Meal Plan Intervention for Vulnerable Mothers and Children (NUMEPLAN).

Through collaborations with Primary Health Centers (PHCs), the program enrolls malnourished mothers and children, providing them highly nutritious meals and comprehensive dietary counselling. The target beneficiaries include pregnant women and teenagers, lactating mothers and under-five children affected by malnutrition caused by poverty and food insecurity.

Lagos Food Bank remains committed to alleviating the prevalence of malnutrition among children and encourages partnerships to end the prevalence of malnourishment in children under five.


  • Mohamed Ag Bendech. Nutrition Terminology and Hunger Situation Analysis. 2013