Stable isotopes are non-radioactive, safe and are applied for various purposes in human health assessment in trace amounts that minimally disturb normal physiology. The International Atomic Energy Agency supports the use of stable isotope techniques to design and evaluate interventions addressing malnutrition in all its forms with focus on infant and young child feeding; maternal and adolescent nutrition; diet quality; prevention and control of non-communicable diseases; healthy ageing and gut function. These techniques can be used to objectively measure: (1) amount of human milk consumed and whether an infant is exclusively breastfed; (2) body composition in the context of re-feeding programmes for moderate and severe acute malnutrition and as an indicator of the risk for obesity; (3) bioavailability and bioconversion of pro-vitamin A and vitamin A body stores following vitamin A intervention programmes; (4) absorption and retention of iron, zinc and protein; (5) total energy expenditure for validation of physical activity measurement and dietary assessment tools and (6) diagnosis of Helicobacter pylori. Stable isotope techniques will be invaluable in the tracking of global targets on exclusive breast-feeding childhood obesity and anaemia among women. Efforts are underway to make nuclear techniques more affordable, field-friendly and less invasive, and to develop less sophisticated but precise equipment. Advocacy for the wide adoption of the techniques is needed.