The first 1,000 days of a child’s life (through a women’s pregnancy and until the child’s second birthday) represent a critical period of growth and development. The rapid growth of their bodies and brains requires essential nutrients including protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Children who do not receive the nutrients they need during this key development stage suffer from chronic malnutrition. The consequences of chronic malnutrition – stunted growth, impaired brain development, and a weakened immune system - are largely irreversible, preventing affected children from reaching their full potential.
Today, 1 in 5 children worldwide are chronically malnourished. Compared with their peers, they will struggle to do as well in school and will on average earn 20% less income as adults. In addition to the human tragedy, chronic malnutrition is an enormous obstacle to countries’ economic development. In Africa, where chronic malnutrition affects 1 in every 3 children, the cost of undernutrition is estimated at up to 16% of GDP in some countries.
Despite affecting 144 million children worldwide, chronic malnutrition remains little known.
Chronically malnourished children do less well in school and earn less as adults
A chronically malnourished mother is likely to have a malnourished baby
It is estimated that stunted children earn 20% less as adults