There are many technical definitions and classifications involved in child wasting and many anthropometric ways of assessing and diagnosing it. Over time, the terminology has become very technical and specialized, with multiple classifications (global acute malnutrition, severe acute malnutrition, moderate acute malnutrition, marasmus, kwashiorkor) and diagnostic tools (weight-for-height, MUAC, oedema) used to describe wasting at population and child level. The global effort to prevent and treat this condition at scale would benefit from clearer terminology, and the Sustainable Development Goals provide us with an opportune agreed term: wasting. Although the technical definition of wasting may differ from the technical definition of acute malnutrition, for the purposes of this document and in all future references by UNICEF, wasting will be used to encompass prevention and treatment of all forms of acute malnutrition (wasting and kwashiorkor) including those diagnosed using WHZ (<-2WHZ), oedema and/or MUAC (<125 mm).

[NOTE: this is an excerpt taken from page 96 of UNICEF's Nutrition Strategy (2020-2030)]


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