There is increasing international interest in the links between malnutrition and disability: both are major global public health problems, both are key human rights concerns, and both are currently prominent within the global health agenda. In this review, interactions between the two fields are explored and it is argued that strengthening links would lead to important mutual benefits and synergies. At numerous points throughout the life-cycle, malnutrition can cause or contribute to an individual's physical, sensory, intellectual or mental health disability. By working more closely together, these problems can be transformed into opportunities: nutrition services and programmes for children and adults can act as entry points to address and, in some cases, avoid or mitigate disability; disability programmes can improve nutrition for the children and adults they serve. For this to happen, however, political commitment and resources are needed, as are better data.