Malnutrition with its main constituents of micronutrient deficiencies continues to be a major health issue around the globe especially in developing countries. It is one of the most perilous risk factors for poor health and untimely deaths of millions of effected pregnant ladies and children. In Pakistan, deficiencies in iron, iodine, vitamin A, D, Q, sodium, Biotin, magnesium and zinc are the main manifestations of malnutrition. Due to which a high prevalence of poor diet causes infectious disease. In Pakistan people living in urban and rural areas from all ages are equally affected by malnutrition. Although treatment protocols for severe malnutrition have in recent years become more efficient, most patients (especially in rural areas) have little or no access to formal health services. According to global service standards of World Health Organization(WHO), nearly 44pc of children are stunted in Pakistan and 24pc of the population is undernourished. The government negligence in this regard can put Pakistan in a dangerous downward trajectory. The most recent study estimated by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) states that 37.5 million people in Pakistan are not receiving proper nourishment. Malnutrition is not only limited to children but is also rampant among women of reproductive age suffering from anemia, usually caused by iron deficiency. Maternal malnutrition not only leads to increased threat of mortality among women but also contributes to the risk of growth faltering and stunting in children. Studies suggest that 34pc children under age 5 have iron deficiency, 54pc suffer from Vitamin A deficiency, and 37pc are zinc deficient whereas nearly 70pc children are vitamin D deficient. These deficiencies can lead to diarrhea and pneumonia. Infant mortality rate in Pakistan is dangerously high with 74pc with rural area being more vulnerable to infant mortality rate at 88pc. According to global service standards of the World Health Organisation, nearly 44pc of children are stunted in Pakistan and 24pc of the population is undernourished Breast feeding, can help reduce infant mortality rate in the country. However, given the poor condition of the rural areas in Pakistan it is only possible if the mother gets the proper amount of nutrition during and after pregnancy to feed the child till the age of two. Low literacy rates especially amongst women, their lack of empowerment and involvement in decision-making, early marriages, high fertility rates with a lack of birth spacing, and poor access to healthcare facilities are important determinants of child and maternal malnutrition. Low levels of awareness of maternal care are also an important driver of under-nutrition largely through improper feeding or dietary practices. To improve child nutrition and reduce stunting, it is imperative to focus on other parallel factors including improving maternal nutrition and antenatal care; especially the nutrition of adolescent girls and young mothers. Comprehensive efforts are required to ensure that every individual of the society enjoys the right to adequate, safe and healthy natural food while ensuring a sustainable and resilient approach towards the food regulatory system. According to nutrition experts, it is a big challenge to counter malnutrition when people are not opting for healthy foods. Consumption of unhealthy food has increased to a level that is hard to combat, these foods are not only micronutrient deficient but have a high level of excess fat, processed sugar and carbohydrates which contribute to chronic health conditions. Anorexia as well as obesity comes under the varied forms of malnutrition that destroy your digestive system and weaken the immune system. Medical experts suggest that we should promote kitchen gardening to get natural and healthy vegetables and essentials spices. More vegetable and fruit consumption can help in avoiding malnutrition. Even a child who looks healthy can be affected by malnutrition. Parents need to observe the eating habits and daily routine of their children and find if the symptoms that may show the signs of malnutrition like laziness, dizziness and sudden eating disorder. A proper and timely diagnosis would help prevent major loss. same must be applied in the case of pregnant ladies, proper diet and regular follow up with nutritionist can help a lot to save the generations from fatal diseases. Bringing health and nutrition services closer to women and children while addressing social determinants, such as poverty and lack of women’s empowerment would make a difference. From United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, of foremost importance is the second Goal, End hunger, achieve food security and improved food nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture, which features targets on hunger, malnutrition, productivity and incomes, sustainability and resilience, biodiversity, investment, trade and commodity markets. This shows how important Zero Hunger is for the growth of economy and other factors of any country. Pakistan Vision 2025 aims to reduce malnutrition up to 50 per cent. Vision 2025 also encapsulates social protection policy which is aimed at reducing poverty, creating employment opportunities and strengthening marginalized people’s capabilities to mitigate their risk and vulnerability and that will help in achieving zero hunger goals. Public private partnership is very important to achieve the targets of zero hunger. Fertilizer sector and biotechnology firms can play a key role to enhance agricultural productivity. Decision makers need to further identify the importance of improved child health and nutrition for national developments a key contributor to achieving Sustainable Development Goals. Governments should make sure all people especially children have access to sufficient and nutritious food all year round. This involves promoting sustainable agricultural practices, supporting small scale farmers and allowing equal access to technology and markets. The writer is a freelance journalist and writes about socio economic development in Pakistan. He can be reached at [email protected] Published in Daily Times, October 21st 2017.