The Healthy Growth Project

Promoting healthy growth and preventing childhood stunting


Create global awareness of the link between healthy growth and complementary feeding, and develop tools and a framework to promote healthy growth in countries with a high burden of stunting.

Associated goals

  • Shift national focus from monitoring underweight to stunting with the vision of nutrition as a long-term development investment
  • Highlight association between undernutrition in early life and the development of overweight/obesity, with attendant risk of non-communicable diseases
  • Contribute to the achievement of the 2012 World Health Assembly stunting reduction targets (Resolution WHA 65.6)


  • Generate new data on the distribution and determinants of healthy growth
  • Undertake a communication and advocacy effort to create awareness that poor infant and young child feeding practices are highly prevalent and support countries to set and implement a stunting reduction agenda
  • Support countries to roll out the WHO Child Growth Standards while promoting best practices for growth assessment and infant and young child feeding


Data analyses will be carried out to strengthen the evidence base and contribute to building a shared understanding among decision-makers, implementers and the wider public about the health, economic and developmental consequences of stunting. Inadequate complementary feeding practices are associated with impaired linear growth and high rates of stunting from 6-24 months. Therefore, special emphasis will be given to identifying strategies to sustainably improve this component of infant and young child feeding, bearing in mind that contributions from other sectors (poverty reduction, food security, education, water and sanitation, social protection and agriculture) are critical for long-term improvement.

Promoting healthy growth and preventing childhood stunting

Conceptual framework



  • WHA65/6
    Maternal, infant and young child nutrition
    21–26 May 2012

Related links

Contact information:

Growth Assessment and Surveillance (GRS) Unit
Department of Nutrition for Health and Development (NHD)
Geneva, Switzerland
Fax: +41 22 791 4156