Kids Everywhere Deserve a Strong Start in Life
Malnutrition can limit children’s potential
- The United States has committed to ending preventable child and maternal deaths around the world. This goal cannot be met without tackling malnutrition as it contributes to 45% of deaths among children under the age of 5. This equals approximately three million kids’ lives needlessly lost each year.
- Children who are malnourished during their first two years of life can experience stunted growth that is irreversible.
- Children lacking proper nutrition have problems concentrating and succeeding in school. The effects of malnutrition decrease a child’s chance to achieve their full potential. It also limits their ability to contribute to their societies and local economies. This negatively impacts them, their families and their community.
Combating malnutrition is a great investment
- Scientists, economists and health experts agree that improving nutrition for kids is one of the best investments we can make.
- Every dollar invested in improving nutrition in the first 1,000 days of a kid’s life yields a return of $48 in better health and economic productivity.*
- Children who are poor and malnourished earn 20% less as adults than children who are well nourished.**
- Investing in better nutrition for children is a down payment toward the future prosperity of communities and entire countries.
Nutrition programs help children worldwide overcome malnutrition
Eleven-month-old Mussab was enrolled in a milk voucher program. This project was created to reduce childhood hunger and malnutrition in his country of Kenya.
What is stunting?
Stunting means a child doesn’t grow up to their body’s potential because their health and/or nutritional needs weren’t met. Stunting is associated with increased risk of frequent and early exposure to illness.
As part of this program, vouchers and nutritional supplements are distributed to those in need. The vouchers are traded for milk at the market, which traders and farmers redeemed for money which helps improve the local economy.
Since Mussab started receiving the vouchers, his health has improved, and he no longer needs to participate in the program. Since malnutrition is the underlying cause of 45% of deaths in children under the age of five, programs like the milk voucher program are vital to the health and wellbeing of many children around the world.
The U.S. has been a leader on combating malnutrition
- In 2013 the U.S. committed to reducing stunted growth among 2 million children.
- In 2014, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) released a long-term strategy that strongly linked nutrition to the goal of ending preventable child and maternal deaths.
- Feed the Future, the U.S. global hunger and food security initiative established in 2009, has reached 12.5 million children through its nutrition programs.
Urge Congress to act to prevent more children from suffering from malnutrition
The U.S. government should continue its leadership on nutrition. To help meet our goal, Congress should provide $230 million for USAID’s Nutrition program. These resources would enable USAID to reach more children with nutrition programs, helping end preventable child and maternal deaths.
Download the factsheet (PDF: 8.8 MB).
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