Tag Archives: malnourishment

the first 1,000 days

The excerpt of the article that follows, by Lauren Weber, is another red flag for the health of our country. The first 1,000 days are critical in providing the necessary nutrition for proper development of the brain. Malnourishment during this window from conception to two years of age will impact children for the remainder of their lives.

More Than Half Of American Babies Are At Risk For Malnourishment

The first 1,000 days of nutrition can set a child’s course for life or perpetuate a cycle of poverty.     By Lauren Weber

LOS ANGELES COUNTY, Calif. ― The nutrition children receive during their first 1,000 days ― from conception until their second birthday ― has a profound impact on how they develop. Without the proper nutrition during that window of time, young brains will not grow to their fullest potential, diminishing the kids’ opportunities for the rest of their lives, according to public health and medical organizations.

But while the World BankUSAID, the World Health Organization and UNICEF push to improve early nutrition among impoverished communities in developing nations, there has been much less emphasis on the first 1,000 days in the United States. That’s not to say that all is well here: Over half of the country’s infants are on nutritional assistance and the top vegetable eaten by U.S. toddlers is the french fry.

Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a groundbreaking policy statement highlighting the importance, and irreversibility, of the 1,000-day window.

“Failure to provide key nutrients during this critical period of brain development may result in lifelong deficits in brain function despite subsequent nutrient repletion,” the AAP Committee on Nutrition said.

In other words, no amount of catch-up can completely fix the lost time for brain formation. Malnourishing the brain can produce a lower IQ; lead to a lifetime of chronic medical problems; increase the risk of obesity, hypertension and diabetes; and cost that individual future academic achievement and job success. The impact can even be generational, perpetuating a cycle of poverty for lifetimes to come.

It’s unclear exactly how many kids in the U.S. are malnourished, but there’s some disturbing evidence: A quarter of toddlers don’t receive enough iron, 1 in 5 children are obese, 1 in 6 households with children are food-insecure, and over half of infants participate in the federal Women, Infants, and Children program for supplemental nutrition.

These children’s futures are at stake, said Lucy Sullivan, executive director for the nonprofit 1,000 Days, which advocates here and abroad for better early nutrition.

“The first 1,000 days matter for all the days that follow.”

leaving the darkness

Schools that have re-opened in Liberia after eight months of being closed due to the #Ebola epidemic. This school re-opened in Bomi County in March and resumed its school meals program in April. More than 100,000 children across the country have received these meals so far.:

I have had the privilege of visiting dozens of schools in developing cointries where Stop Hunger Now meals are being used in school feeding programs. The teachers, principals and headmasters have all told me the same thing.

The children come to school because they know they will get a hot meal. It will be the only food for the day for over 90 percent of the kids eating the meals.

Then the school leaders say,”Without the Stop Hunger Now meals the children will not come to school. If they do not come to school they will not get an education. If they are not educated there is no hope, there is no future for our nation.”

School Feeding Programs provide more than just food for hungry and malnourished kids. The meals provide hope. They provide a path out of darkness into the light.

our hell will be far worse

War is hell. I know. I have experienced it.

Hunger is hell. I know. I have seen it

I have seen war and I have seen hunger. Nothing can adequately prepare you for either.

Experiencing the violence of combat is terrifying.

Seeing a starving child is terrifying. Seeing the parents of a starving child is even more terrifying.

I know. I have held far too many malnourished and starving children in my arms…Over the past 35 years I have learned that basic humanity demands more than platitudes for the hungry. Morality demands more than compassion. Morality demands action.

I have watched children so hungry here in the US they’ve torn into a 50 lb. bag of potatoes, stuffing raw potatoes into their mouths, gnawing through the dirt to put something in their bellies.

I have watched elderly women, mothers & grandmothers kneel in the frozen Afghanistan mud to pick up individual grains of wheat fallen from bags of relief food.

I have talked with 14 & 15 year old commercial sex workers in Zambia who prostitute themselves so they can eat. When I asked about the threat of HIV/AIDS their answer was as direct as it was chilling:

“If I get AIDS I know I will die, but it will be 3 or 4 years. If I have no food I will starve very quickly.”

I have watched grieving mothers holding their malnourished infants too weak to save. The pain in their eyes will follow me to my grave.

Hunger is hell. And we allow it to exist. If there is any justice in the world our hell will be far worse and for eternity.

 

how beauftiful that would be

I know that a world without hunger is possible. And I know that world is possible in my lifetime. Achieving such a world, however, calls for a radical restructuring of our priorities, something most of us cannot even begin to seriously consider.

Just think what we could accomplish toward healing our broken world if we focused on helping one another rather than destroying one another. Even a small step in this direction could result in almost unbelievable good for our human family.

Mother Teresa understood the power of love. She wrote that,

“If all the money that is being spent on finding ways to kill people was used instead to feed them and house them—how beautiful that would be. We are often afraid of the sacrifices we might have to make. But where there is true love, there is joy and peace.”

As a person of faith, I truly believe we have a moral obligation to help work toward a world filled with true love, a world of joy and peace. Such a world will never be achieved through military might.

Isn’t it time we start looking more seriously at our priorities and moving more intentionally toward reducing military spending. Faithfulness in a hungry world demands that all people of faith seek justice for those being held captive by hunger and poverty. One way to do that is to begin spending far less on military armaments and far more on those of our human family that daily face the threat of malnourishment, hunger, and even starvation.

I, for one, would be perfectly content and much happier with less military protection and a world where more of my family were allowed the opportunity to experience a life with hunger. How beautiful would that be?