Hungry and under-nourished children find learning difficult. Their growth is stunted, their brains fail to develop properly and they suffer life-long health problems. Under-nourished girls who become mothers as adults are more likely to suffer through difficult pregnancies and bear under-nourished children. And thus the cycle continues for generations.
“One in three children worldwide suffers from under-nutrition,” said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a keynote speech on May 11th.
Nutrition plays the most critical role in a person’s life during a narrow window of time – the 1,000 days that begin at the start of a pregnancy and continue through the second year of life. . . .
“If we target that brief critical period during which nutrition has the biggest impact and focus on improving nutrition for expectant mothers, new mothers, and young children, we can accomplish several things at once. We can save lives, we can help children start life on a better path, and we can bolster economic development and learning down the road.”
The Obama Administration aims to reduce child under-nutrition by 30 percent in our partner countries, said Secretary Clinton.
“We’re trying to make nutrition the intersection of two major new policy initiatives – the Global Health Initiative, a six-year, 63 billion dollar effort to strengthen the health systems of our partner countries, and Feed the Future, our hunger and food security initiative of at least three years and 3.5 billion dollars to improve agricultural systems from farms to markets.
“To succeed, we have to tailor our strategies to suit our partners’ specific needs and strengths,” said Secretary Clinton. “Through the Feed the Future Initiative, we’re helping to strengthen agricultural systems to accomplish three things – increase the amount and diversity of food grown, improve markets so people have access to that food, and increase people’s income so they can afford to buy more and better quality food.”
“Few issues provide a more direct, affordable, and effective way to save and improve,” said Secretary Clinton. “In places where our money and effort can make the biggest and most lasting difference, nutrition represents a ripe opportunity.”