Back in June, I posted here about the negative impacts of global undernutrition as my colleagues and I prepared for Feed the Future's agriculture and food security Research Forum in Washington, D.C. This week, as I attend two meetings for the international Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement during UN General Assembly week in New York, I'm moved to reflect once again on the issue because, quite frankly, we can't give it enough attention.
The numbers haven't changed since my last post, nor should our sense of urgency. The fact remains that two billion people in the world do not consume enough nutrients to live healthy, productive lives; and nearly 200 million children under age 5 suffer from chronic undernutrition. To put that last number into perspective, that's about 24 times the population of the densely inhabited city where these UN meetings are currently taking place. That's 24 New York cities full of little children who deserve a better future.
Letting those kids down is simply not an option. Children suffering from undernutrition during the critical 1,000-day window between pregnancy and a child's second birthday face physical stunting and mental impairment that cannot be reversed. Later in life they experience poorer performance in school, which can lead to lower incomes in adulthood.
These statistics aren't just sad; they're unacceptable. That's why, through Feed the Future and the Global Health Initiative, the U.S. Government is supporting country-owned programs that address the root causes of undernutrition and improve the future potential of millions of people. With our support, countries like Tanzania, Guatemala, Uganda, and Mozambique have made great strides in making nutrition a national priority, and we applaud their efforts. As a development professional and as a father, I couldn't agree more.
To find out more about what the U.S. Government is doing to prevent global undernutrition, visit here.
Editor's Note: This entry also appears on the USAID Impact Blog.