Leading scientists, health experts and economists are all in agreement that the thousand days between a mother’s pregnancy and a child’s second birthday is a critical timeframe in the health and well-being of the child. Improving nutrition during this 1,000 days is one of the best investments that can be made to achieve real and lasting progress in global health and development.
Undernutrition is a leading cause of death around the world. Undernutrition for infants and children under the age of two is especially severe. It is irreversible, and impacts the child for the rest of his or her life.
Undernutrition during pregnancy can be devastating. Infants malnourished in the womb are at much higher risk of dying before the age of two and are far more likely to suffer from both cognitive and physical defects.
Undernutition in children under the age of two can be life-threatening. Weakening the child’s immune system, undernutrition during the first 1,000 days makes the child more susceptible of dying from common illnesses such a malaria, measles and pneumonia.
Health experts and economists point out that interventions targeted for the first 1,000 days can help families, communities and even entire countries break out of the poverty cycle. Targeting the first 1,000 days is a hunger solution that makes a real and lasting difference.