My June 3rd post, 1,000 days to change the future, focused on the need to address undernutrition during critical window between conception and a child’s second birthday. Focusing on this first critical 1,000 days of a child’s life can not only spell the difference between life and death, it can be the deciding factor for a child’s health and well-being for the rest of his or her life.
Investing in improved nutrition during a child’s first 1,000 days is vital for enabling children to live healthier and more productive lives. Studies have demonstrated that providing proper nutrition for children during this 1,000 day window can accomplish more than we can even begin to imagine. Providing proper nutrition during this window can:
- save more than 1,000,000 lives every year
- significantly reduce the burden of major diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS
- reduce the risk of developing non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and other chronic conditions later in life
- improve an individual’s educational and earning potential.
There is also evidence that shows providing proper nutrition during the first 1,000 days of a child’s life can increase a county’s GDP by at least 2-3 percent annually.
The first 1,000 days of a child’s life are critical for providing a healthier and more prosperous future. Proper nutrition during this period is one of the best investment of resources we can make, and solutions to make this happen are readily available. These solutions are both affordable and cost-effective. Simple solutions include:
- Ensuring mothers and infants get the necessary vitamins and minerals they need
- Promoting good nutritional practices (such as breastfeeding), and appropriate foods that are healthy for infants
- providing special therapeutic foods for malnourished infants
Addressing a child’s nutritional needs during the first 1,000 days of life is a simple, yet powerful way to change the future. Ensuring proper nutrition for children during their first 1,000 days is an investment toward achieving lasting progress toward global health…and a world without hunger.