Effect of stunted growth to children

Effect of stunted growth to children

What is stunting?

Stunting is a condition in which a child's height is significantly below average for their age. It is caused by chronic undernutrition, which means that the child does not get enough calories, protein, or other nutrients to grow and develop properly.

The consequences of stunting

The long-term effects of stunting can be devastating. Children who are stunted are more likely to have lower IQ scores, poorer school performance, and lower adult wages.

Below are some of the example long-term consequences for stunted child:

  1. Impaired cognitive development: Children who are stunted are more likely to have lower IQ scores and poorer school performance. This is because stunting can damage the brain and impair cognitive development.

  2. Prone to infection & illness: Stunted children are more likely to fall sick as they have weaker immune systems.

  3. Educational achievements: As they have impaired cognitive development, they are more likely to drop out of school. This is because they have difficulty learning and may not be able to keep up with their classmates.

  4. Increase likelihood of being obese: Children that are stunted during childhood will more likely become overweight and obese later in life.

  5. Increased risk of getting chronic diseases: Children who are stunted are more likely to develop chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes later in life. This is because stunting can damage the body's organs and systems.

What can be done to prevent stunting?

There are multiple measurements that can be taken to prevent stunted growth among children. These include:

  1. Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding is the best way to ensure that babies get the nutrients they need to grow and develop properly.

  2. Providing a variety of healthy foods: Children need a variety of healthy foods to get the nutrients they need to grow and develop properly. These foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and dairy products.

  3. Ensuring access to clean water and sanitation: Clean water and sanitation are essential for preventing the spread of infections and diarrhoea, which can lead to malnutrition and stunting.

  4. Promoting good hygiene practices:  Good hygiene practices, such as handwashing, can help to prevent the spread of infections.

In conclusion, stunting is a serious problem that can have long-term consequences for children. The good news is, stunting among children is preventable and it is often possible to reverse the effects if caught early. By providing children with the nutrition they need and promoting good health practices, we can help to prevent stunting and ensure that all children reach their full potential. 

This article is written by Sylvia Ho (Nutritionist) for Green Image Organic Enterprise Sdn. Bhd. 


  1. De Sanctis V, Soliman A, Alaaraj N, Ahmed S, Alyafei F, Hamed N. Early and Long-term Consequences of Nutritional Stunting: From Childhood to Adulthood. Acta Biomed. 2021 Feb 16;92(1)
  2. World Health Organization. (n.d.). Stunting in a Nutshell. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/news/item/19-11-2015-stunting-in-a-nutshell
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