Revisiting the Evidence on Kwashiorkor Malnutrition

Kwashiorkor malnutrition affects hundreds of thousands of children and kills tens of thousands each year. Although recognized as a unique form of malnutrition since the 1930s, its etiology is still unclear. In 1968, a group of scientists studying and treating kwashiorkor met to discuss differences between kwashiorkor and wasting, leading to the diagnostic criteria currently used in treatment and study designs. Over the past 50 years, we have learned a lot more about the progression of kwashiorkor.

Through a series of webinars in late 2020 and early 2021, current researchers and practitioners review recent evidence related to kwashiorkor. These webinars will lead to another meeting of experts to discuss and advance kwashiorkor prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

This project is a collaboration between Action Against Hunger UK, the Feinstein International Center, and Wageningen University.

Webinar 1:Revisiting the evidence: Characterizing and treating kwashiorkor

September 29, 2020.

This first webinar discussed recent research relating to treatment, diet, and the biochemical mechanisms associated with kwashiorkor.


  • Alexandra Rutishauser-Perera, Action Against Hunger UK
  • Merry Fitzpatrick, Feinstein International Center, Tufts University
  • Gerard Bryan Gonzales, Wageningen University
  • Moderator: André Briend, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark and University of Tampere School of Medicine and Tampere University Hospital, Center for Child Health Research, Finland

Webinar 2: Overt signs of kwashiorkor: Looking at edema and beyond

Although Kwashiorkor malnutrition is diagnosed by bi-pedal pitting edema, it is characterized by an array of visible signs as well as metabolic disturbances.  We will consider recent research and practice related to the visible signs of kwashiorkor, beyond the apparently simple diagnostic, to improve our understanding of the syndrome and its treatment.

Monday, October 26, 2020


  • Merry Fitzpatrick, Feinstein International Center, Tufts University
  • Sofine Heilskov, Aarhus University Hospital
  • Kirrily de Polnay, Médecins Sans Frontières
  • Regina Keith, University of Westminster
  • Moderator: Alexandra Rutishauser-Perera, Action Against Hunger UK

Webinar 3: Metabolic and physical changes associated with kwashiorkor

Major metabolic pathways and the associated organs are all affected in cases of kwashiorkor.  New research on metabolics in general and kwashiorkor specifically bring new light not just on the signs of kwashiorkor but also on potential causal pathways.

Late November 2020

Panel:   To be confirmed

Basic characterization and treatment of kwashiorkor
September 2020

This is the first of three webinars in the Revisiting the Evidence on Kwashiorkor Malnutrition Webinar Series. Panelists discuss recent research related to treatment, nutrition, and the biochemical mechanisms associated...