Putting it all together: the complete story of child malnutrition

A few weeks ago, we started this challenge to tell the intriguing story of child malnutrition with a focus on Pakistan. It was our intention to gain insight into several aspects of child malnutrition, related to global trends, developments over time and the sub-categories of child malnutrition (e.g. underweight, overweight, stunting and wasting). We deliberately chose to zoom in on Pakistan, as this country is highly affected by severe malnutrition rates. As a group, we developed an interactive (clickable/zoomable/filterable) visualization (1), an interactive infographic (2), and finally, an animated infographic video (3) to present this story. Although we encountered several challenges and difficulties along the way, we managed to complete all three assignments on time and we are happy to present them to you!

1. The interactive visualization (Tableau) 

The interactive visualization part is the starting point of the story about child malnutrition. The focus of this interactive visualization is to visualize the problem globally. Therefore, the world map was chosen as graph. In the visualization the worldwide developments per dimension can be seen over the years. These dimensions are selected by level of importance for the malnutrition. The actual percentage of different forms of malnutrition are taken into account, but also important determinants like access to improved sanitation facilities. The world map shows the division of malnutrition world wide as for the line graph this shows the development for one country. You can also select two countries in the world map. The line graph will only show these to countries then. Therefore, you will get a clear overview of the development on global level and on region level.

Tableau_screenshot

Direct link to the interactive visualizations in Tableau

2. The interactive infographic

As mentioned in our blog post on the interactive infographic (posted on May 23, 2016), this visualization is specifically devoted to Pakistan. With five different units (bar-charts, line-charts, a map etc.) we tried to visualize the data on important aspects of child malnutrition. The overall message of this infographic is to show that Pakistan is highly affected by malnutrition, specifically with regard to underweight, stunting and wasting ratings. How is this possible? Numbers alone did not give satisfying answers to that question, so we needed to look for additional information. We found interesting articles on child malnutrition, even some with a special focus on Pakistan. As can be read in the infographic, child malnutrition is directly linked to several developments in society. Mainly due to cultural, economical and environmental factors, mothers and babies in Pakistan have a high risk to be confronted with malnutrition and its consequences.

child-malnutrition-pakistan (2)

Direct link to the interactive infographic in Piktochart

3. Animated infographic video 

The purpose of the animated infographic video is to summarize the major issues from all different assignments, but most importantly, video’s are a powerful tool to tell a story. It is possible to combine different forms of communication (words, texts, graphs, music) which makes it very dynamic. The video starts with a brief introduction on child malnutrition, explaining its meaning and stressing its importance. Most people associate malnutrition directly with underweight, which is understandable because malnutrition and underweight are often used synonymously. But the problem of overweight/obese is definitely a part of malnutrition as well and should not be forgotten in this context. As the video continues, we again zoom in on Pakistan. It is convenient to illustrate a worldwide problem with a specific example and this helps the viewers to make the problem of child malnutrition more concrete. The graphs show developments over time, specifically with regard to the most important aspects of child malnutrition (i.e., underweight, stunting, wasting, overweight).

Conclusion and reflection 

As a group, we specifically enjoyed the practical side of this course. Instead of solely reading scientific theories and articles, this course really focused on experimenting with tools to actually make/produce something. This doesn’t happen quite often at the university so it was nice to do something completely different. However, this doesn’t mean is was an easy course to follow. We faced numerous challenges, especially with regard to analyzing the datasets and synchronizing the data with the visualization software (really time consuming!). We did not have many experience with data at such a level, but together we managed to make a story out of it. It is definitely our intention to use our new retrieved skills on data and visualizations in the nearby future!

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