The objective of this systematic review is to investigate the changes in the prevalence of stunting, a chronic form of undernutrition, in South Africa over 40 years, and to derive lessons from the South African experience, a country in an advanced process of transition in sub-Saharan Africa. Despite economic growth, political and social transitions, and national nutritional programs, stunting remains stubbornly persistent and prevalent in South Africa. A multi-sectoral and public health approach is needed to: (i) better monitor stunting over time, (ii) combat malnutrition during the first thousand days of life through continued efforts to improve maternal nutrition during pregnancy and infant feeding practices.
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