More than 820 million people worldwide are undernourished, and about 2 billion people are deficient in key micronutrients such as iron, vitamin A, and zinc.1,2 These deficiencies are especially damaging to children in their first 1,000 days of life. Malnutrition during this period impairs physical and neurological development, and those impairments in turn cause lower academic performance, lower adult income, and higher adult fertility rates.3,4 Chronic undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies account for nearly half of all deaths in children under the age of 5.1 Those conditions have also caused nearly 200 million children worldwide to experience “stunting” (low height for age) or “wasting” (low weight for height).5

The highest-impact interventions in this area target children under the age of 2, as well as pregnant and nursing mothers. Three types of intervention work in concert to ensure that children receive key nutrients: programs that foster increased consumption of diverse foods or fortified foods, efforts to provide micronutrient supplements, and educational campaigns to promote exclusive breastfeeding for a defined period.6,7

Addressing nutrition deficiencies leads to improved child and maternal health outcomes. Those outcomes in turn result in lower child mortality rates, higher school attainment, increased future incomes, and decreased rates of intergenerational poverty.8,9


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