Severe acute malnutrition (SAM)
Prevalence rate (%) of severe acute malnutrition in children 6 to 59 months of age based on presence of bilateral pitting oedema and / or weight-for-height z-score less than -3 standard deviations of the median of the standard population (WHO 2006)
Number of children aged 6-59 months that meet the criteria for severe acute malnutrition
Total number of children aged 6-59 months surveyed
Geographical area, age, sex
Indicator used for response monitoring ?
Threshold / Standard
No standard WHO thresholds; this indicator cut-off should be interpreted in consideration of other indicators including morbidity, mortality and proportion of GAM; Reference: WHO child growth standards and the identification of severe acute malnutrition in infants and children. A Joint Statement by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund, 2009.
Should be based on a methodologically solid anthropometric nutrition survey finding and include Confidence Intervals
Guidance on phases
preparatory; Phase III and IV
Population-based surveys with representative sampling methods (MICS, DHS, SMART)
Note that WFH and MUAC do not measure the same things and are not comparable. Data on the severe acute malnutrition rate should be compared by sex in order to identify any specific discrimination girls or boys might face in accessing nutrition. In case there is an important difference between the percentage of girls and the percentage of boys suffering from malnutrition, the programme should address these gaps by undertaking a gender analysis of the specific challenges the disadvantaged group is facing in equally accessing nutrition, including an analysis of the socio cultural habits and beliefs that might differently impact on girls' and boys' nutritional well being.