What Do You Know About Global Hunger and Early Childhood Under Nutrition?

Last Modified: 06/21/2013
Date: 
03/08/2011
By: 
Yibo Wood

Yibo Wood (second from right) visits Ghanaian children as they eat a hot meal prepared from locally grown foods. The Ghana School Feeding Program hopes to reduce hunger and malnutrition among school children, improve school attendance, and increase domestic food production.

It is estimated worldwide, that more than one billion people suffer from chronic hunger, many of them live on less than $1.25 a day. Children are the most visible victims of under nutrition as it kills about 3.5 million children annually.

As the world approaches the 2015 deadlines for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, which include a goal of reducing the proportion of hungry people by half, child under nutrition remains stubbornly entrenched in many areas. Stunting (low height for age) affects about one in three children and wasting (low weight for height) affects one in 10 children in the developing world. Here in the United States, we have pretty much eliminated the wasting and stunting situation.

More than 90 percent of the world?s stunted children live in Africa and Asia. The ingredients of proper early childhood nutrition are well known: a well-nourished and empowered mother who has good nutrition and health before and during her pregnancy; who receives adequate health support and care to ensure a safe delivery for herself and her baby; who breastfeeds exclusively for the first six months; who provides the baby with nutritious complementary foods in adequate quantities and frequency starting at six months of age and who has access to safe water, sanitation, and preventive and curative healthcare. However, millions of people lack these basic ingredients.

A wide range of organizations (including the U.S. government, the United Nations, non-governmental organizations, and civil society organizations) are working together on an initiative called 1,000 Days to address the issue of under nutrition during pregnancy and early childhood. 1,000 days is part of the Scale Up Nutrition program, which allows these organizations to leverage their resources to better fight global hunger.

Check back here on E-Updates regularly for more information on global hunger efforts.