There is no one solution to malnutrition. But the new five-year U.S. Government nutrition strategy and World Vision's development model are designed to address all of its causes.
Read how this new strategy is designed to reduce stunting and save lives!
With the many crises in the world today, it can sometimes be difficult to stay focused on the good: exciting progress in addressing the development challenges around the world, and success in bringing life-saving food and medicines to those in need.
It can also be difficult to see the role that the United States Government plays in making the “good” happen. While there is healthy debate around the proper role of the United States in world, there is no doubt that we are a global leader in health and development, and that through this leadership, millions living in poverty have been helped.
One major area of U.S. leadership is around nutrition. Malnutrition is both a cause and a consequence of poverty, and it contributes to an astounding 45 percent of the 6.3 million child deaths every year. Malnutrition compromises a child’s immune system, making them more susceptible to disease.
Chronic malnutrition, particularly in the first 1,000 days of life from conception to age two, can cause irreversible physical and brain development, referred to as stunting. Stunting has been shown to lead to lower levels of educational attainment, lower earnings, and slowed economic growth of countries. Addressing early childhood malnutrition, including malnutrition in pregnant mothers, is critical to getting families and developing countries out of the cycle of poverty.
To address both the direct and indirect causes of malnutrition, the U.S. Government launched a nutrition strategy in May of 2014 to guide programs, with the goal of reducing the number of stunted children by two million over the next five years and reaching an additional tens of millions of vulnerable people with nutrition information and services. This strategy is the first of its kind at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which oversees development programs including the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future and Global Health Initiatives.
The overall goal of the strategy is to improve nutrition to save lives, build resilience, increase economic productivity, and advance development. At its core, this means coordinating programs across multiple sectors (health, water/sanitation/hygiene, education, agriculture, social protection) to work together in the most cost-effective and high-impact way. It also means focusing on the interventions that we know will have the greatest impact, such as the promotion of breastfeeding and vitamin supplementation.
There is no one solution to malnutrition. A child getting nutritious food that has diarrhea from a lack of clean water will not be healthy. A mother that is not taught how to properly space her children to give her body time to recover is more likely to give birth to a child that is stunted. That is why the U.S. strategy is so powerful and why the World Vision model of programming is so effective.
We must look at all of the causes of malnutrition and work across sectors to reduce stunting and save lives.
Find out more about World Vision's Food and Agriculture programs and how they help combat malnutrition as one component of World Vision's holistic model.
Become part of the solution to malnutrition and poverty: sponsor a child today!