Malnutrition: rates and measures

From the MSF book 'Refugee Health; An Approach to Emergency Situations'
MALNUTRITION The prevalence rate of acute malnutrition in children under-five years of age is generally used as an indicator of this condition in the entire population, since this group is more sensitive to changes in the nutritional situation and international reference values may be used. It makes it possible to to know whether there is a nutritional problem, and, if so, how significant it is. Interpretation of results The essential indicators for decision-making are the global malnutrition rate and the severe malnutrition rate. A global rate below 5% is considered common in major parts of Africa and Asia; a rate between 5% and 10% should act as a warning.