What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. - James 2:14-17
Nutrition is one of the most overlooked areas in global health and development today. Though the U.S. has been a historic leader in engaging the global fight for infectious disease prevention, family planning, clean water, and maternal health and child survival, nutrition remains a fraction of the budget for foreign assistance. There is an urgent need for advocacy to focus attention on the critical need to eliminate hunger and malnutrition, particularly for mothers and their infants in the first 1000 days of life. Consider these harsh facts:
- Nearly 1 in 3 people worldwide suffer from malnutrition. If this were a disease, we would call it a pandemic of biblical proportions. This hunger leads to the lifelong problems of chronic disease and weakened immune systems.
- For 1 in 4 children around the world, malnutrition leads to stunting. Stunted growth during the formative years of childhood diminishes both cognitive and physical capacity for a lifetime, severely limiting learning in school and later earning potential.
- Due to poor nutrition, over half a billion women suffer from iron deficiency during pregnancy, often leading to anemia and even death. This deficiency also causes serious health problems for their infants.
Clearly, the need for proper nutrition is dire. However, there are effective, efficient and easy solutions. Supplementation is a success, including the addition of micronutrients, protein, iron and folic acid. Improving breastfeeding practice so that infants get the most of their mothers’ milk is another useful practice. Such basic practices can save lives and improve futures. Nutrition is an investment in “gray matter infrastructure.” For every $1 invested, $16 is produced because of improved cognitive function translating into greater individual earning potential and community economic development.
With support from the Eleanor Crook Foundation, Hope Through Healing Hands has launched a new campaign to galvanize interest, support, and advocacy for the issues of global nutrition. Join us by signing onto our Declaration of Commitment to Global Nutrition issues (below), and receive invitations to participate in sign-on letters to our leaders in Washington.
For more information on nutritional needs in the developing world, see Just the Facts: Global Nutrition.
Declaration of Commitment to Global Nutrition: Signatures
We, the undersigned, commit our voices to speaking up to maintain or increase funding for U.S. food aid programs for women and children in developing nations. We will leverage our networks in the United States and offer our personal support to increase advocacy for federal funding and effective policies to support global nutrition programs. As Christian leaders, we call on others to join our effort to champion life-saving measures to "feed the hungry" as Jesus calls us to do in Matthew 25.