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Nutrition-Relevant Policy In West Africa: A Comprehensive Review

Malnutrition continues to be a major health burden in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and is one of the predominant risk factors for ill health and death, with women and children being most vulnerable. Most countries in the region show variable, little, or no progress in meeting most of the global nutrition goals (Development Initiatives 2020); therefore, stunting and wasting among children under five (U5s), low birth weight, anemia among women of reproductive age (WRA), and the epidemic of overweight/obesity remain priorities for West African policymakers. None of the countries in the region are on track to meet the targets for low birth weight (LBW), anemia among WRA (Development Initiatives 2020), or overweight/obesity; and nutrition-related noncommunicable diseases (NR-NCDs) are on the rise (Verstraeten and Diop 2018; Development Initiatives 2020; Popkin, Corvalan, Grummer-Strawn 2020). With the COVID-19 pandemic aggravating the pre-existing malnutrition burden (Osendarp et al. 2021), and the 2030 deadline for reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) fast approaching, it is a critical time for action.