The Reverberating Impact of COVID-19 on Nutrition

Speeches Shim


By disrupting systems that provide nutritious food and nutrition interventions, COVID-19 is expected to critically damage the nutrition of vulnerable groups. When children are not able to reach their full potential due to poor nutrition early in their lives, we risk losing an entire generation. Over 168,000 more young children are projected to die from poor nutrition due to COVID-19.

  • Disruption of livelihoods & food systems
  • Limited access to safe, nutritious food
  • Disruption of health systems & humanitarian assistance
  • Limited delivery of vital nutrition and health interventions
  • Disruption of social protection programs
  • Limited access to safe, nutritious food and health services for the most vulnerable

These consequences are not only devastating for families, but they also impact national economies and social development as human capital and capacity gets diminished now and for years to come. COVID-related nutrition setbacks could cost countries nearly $30 billion in lost productivity. This stands to make recovery and rebuilding after COVID-19 more difficult.

Even as the pandemic subsides, the long-term structural shocks that COVID-19 leaves behind on poverty and food and health systems will, in turn, compound the severity of global malnutrition for years. For example, disruptions to food systems and loss of income will force families to make a choice between less expensive staples and more expensive nutritious food. They will also have a more difficult time accessing vital healthcare. These disruptions will likely result in 9.3 million more children suffering from wasting, a severe form of malnutrition caused by hunger and illness. A projected 2.6 million more children who received poor nutrition due to COVID-19 will face stunted growth that limits their lifelong potential

Tuesday, July 7, 2020 - 12:30pm

Last updated: February 12, 2021