Tag Archives: undernutrition

the first 1,000 days revisited

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.


1,000 days to change the future

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.