Food for thought: tackling child malnutrition to unlock potential and boost prosperity

Food for thought: tackling child malnutrition to unlock potential and boost prosperity

Addressing malnutrition in the first 1,000 days can greatly increase children's ability to learn and earn

The long-term consequences of child malnutrition for health and resilience to disease are well established. But this report presents new evidence which identifies the impact of malnutrition on educational outcomes
across a range of countries.

The report looks at early nutrition, cognitive development and education; the economic impact of malnutrition; and, interventions that make a difference. It argues that preventing malnutrition of children and women in the crucial 1,000-day window – from the start of a woman’s pregnancy until her child’s second birthday – could greatly increase children’s ability to learn and to earn.

This report calls on donors and governments in developing countries to make the commitments needed to tackle malnutrition. They should:

  • support and finance national plans to scale up nutrition
  • declare and meet interim impact targets by 2016 as part of the global goal to alleviate the burden of malnutrition in children by 2025
  • enhance nutrition-sensitivity of agriculture initiatives so food-based approaches can contribute more to improving nutritional status
  • ensure nutrition is a core part of the G8 Accountability Report
  • recognise the importance of nutrition for cognitive and educational development, and ensure that nutrition is integrated as a key component of early years’ programming, including in early childhood care and development programmes
  • integrate stimulation interventions into early years’ programmes, in order to mitigate the impacts of malnutrition on children’s cognitive development.
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