Last update: February 2022 | Next update: May 2023

Malnutrition in children with disabilities can be attributed to many factors. These include physical problems in feeding, suboptimal feeding practices due to lack of knowledge or specific skills among caregivers, or attitudinal, social or cultural causes (such as the exclusion or neglect of children with disabilities in feeding practices, socially or in the home). The availability of food in the home is also a factor. When children with disabilities live in residential care or other institutions, their nutrition tends to suffer due to inadequate staffing and discriminatory practices. Children with disabilities represent a disproportionate share of children in such facilities and are less likely to benefit from nutritional programmes, which are often not extended to institutions. In humanitarian situations, children with disabilities are at risk of malnutrition because their particular needs are not usually taken into account. Moreover, they are less likely to be included in education in emergencies and to benefit from the nutrition programmes that operate through such channels.