Joint statement on nutrition in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in Asia and the Pacific

Governments and partners across the Asia-Pacific region are acting to protect citizens from Coronavirus disease –2019 (COVID-19). These crucial efforts will save many lives. However, measures needed to slow the transmission of the disease are resulting in hardship for many vulnerable families. In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic is having worrying impacts on household incomes, food supply chains, health services and schools.The Asia United Nations Network on Nutrition, comprising FAO, WFP, WHO and UNICEF, is concerned about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nutrition status of those most affected, particularly the poor and vulnerable. At the start of the crisis, an estimated 10.5 million children under five in Asia were suffering from wasting, 78 million children were stunted and 17 million were overweight, while 400 million women were anemic. The current situation aggravates the difficulties many families already face in terms of access to affordable, healthy diets.