What is malnutrition?

At This Saves Lives we focus on saving lives by addressing severe acute malnutrition. In this three-part blog series we will break this down: what is this and how we help address it? 


“I’m hungry…” is a phrase many of us often hear or say every day. Hunger can be just the grumble in your tummy – we all feel it at different times of day – but we are talking about something else, more specifically malnutrition.

1 in 3 children are malnourished.

Malnourished means they aren’t getting the vitamins and minerals they need for their bodies to function well. For example, malnourished children in Guatemala may only eat corn tortillas and salt because it’s the only food that’s affordable.

Malnutrition is the single largest contributor to disease in the world. And most importantly, it is 100% preventable.

Caregiver note: We’d love to help you facilitate these conversations in your home, schools and communities. Here are a few things to think about and activities for the kiddos in your life. 

Two Children, Same Country


Two Indonesian 9-year-olds lead very different lives video | UNICEF. (Be sure to preview it first, but we believe it’s appropriate for elementary aged children.)


• What differences do you notice between Christina and Nindy’s day?
• What did they eat?•How do you think they were feeling at that time?
• Do you think this is fair?
• What does every kid need to have a fair start in life?

Plate Coloring Activity


What does your plate look like? Draw a circle on a piece of paper – this represents a plate. Draw a picture of everything you ate in one day. Use color to show all the fruits and vegetables that were included in your food. (Don’t forget, your This Saves Lives Kids products all include a “hidden” serving of fruits and veggies!)


• What do you eat every day?
• Where are you getting your vitamins and minerals?