Malnutrition is still a leading cause of death of young children throughout the world. Every year 2.6 million children die from malnutrition1, more than from TB, AIDS and Malaria combined. For children under the age of two, the consequences of malnutrition are particularly severe, often irreversible, and reach far into the future.

Adequate nutrition during a child’s first 1,000 days –from a mother’s pregnancy until her child’s second birthday –can have a profound impact on a child’s ability to grow, learn, and rise out of poverty. Good nutrition is essential to ensure that every child has the right start to life. Investments in nutrition can help break the cycle of poverty and increase a country’s GDP by at least 2-3% annually.2

Quick Facts

  • 2.6 million children die from malnutrition each year.1
  • Almost 200 million of our world’s children are chronically malnourished and suffer from serious, often irreversible, physical and cognitive damage.3
  • Malnutrition can cost individuals up to 10% of their lifetime earnings and countries up to 11% of their annual GDP in lost productivity.
  • 2 million children may die unnecessarily each year because they lack vitamin A, zinc, or other nutrients.
  • Nutrition specific interventions –treatment, exclusive breastfeeding, food fortification and micronutrient supplementation –have a return of investment of $138 for every $1 spent.4

Organizations We Work With

  1. Based on calculation that 35% of child deaths are attributable to undernutrition (Black et al The Lancet, January 2008) and there were 7.6 million child deaths in 2010 (unicef, 2011, Levels and Trends in Child Mortality 2011)
  2. Hoddinott J, Maluccio JA, Behrman JR, Flores R, Martorell R. Effect of a nutritional intervention during early childhood on economic Productivity in Guatemalan adults. The Lancet. 2008 Feb 2; 371 (9610): 411–6.
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