Insights into addressing undernutrition from China’s water, sanitation, and energy investments
- Impact Area
BY SUMAN CHAKRABARTI AND LEIGH HAMLET
Globally, childhood chronic undernutrition is a major public health concern and can lead to low height-for-age, also known as stunting or linear growth faltering. When children’s growth falls short for their age, it can have profound implications on their development and future contributions to society. During the 20th century, strategies to improve water and sanitation access—including household water treatment and pit latrines—emerged as promising avenues for addressing undernutrition. WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) is essential for preventing undernutrition by promoting cleanliness and reducing disease transmission, and thus helping to ensure proper nutrient absorption and utilization. However, WASH interventions have had mixed success. Notably, their capacity to fully shield children from harmful pathogens is limited.