Global Nutrition & Food Security Issues
With the generous support of the Eleanor Crook Foundation, HTHH has launched a new campaign to galvanize interest, support, and advocacy for the issues of global nutrition. Nutrition is one of the most overlooked areas in global health and development today. Though the U.S. has been a historic leader in global health initiatives, we still do not provide enough funding for simple measures to prevent hunger and malnutrition. Consider these facts:
- More than 795 million people around the world suffer from hunger. Nearly one in three people worldwide suffer from malnutrition. If hunger or malnutrition were categorized as a disease, we would call it a pandemic of biblical proportions. Hunger and malnutrition cause lifelong problems due to weakened immune systems, susceptibility to chronic disease, stunting, wasting and obesity.
- Stunting is a consequence of severe and long-lasting malnutrition in which a child fails to achieve the expected height for his or her age. It is present when a child is more than 3 standard deviations shorter than an average child of the same age. Nearly 1 in 4 children worldwide have been stunted by chronic lack of nourishment.
- Wasting is the drastic loss of weight and lean body tissue caused by severe malnutrition. Severely wasted children are 11 times more likely to die than their healthy counterparts, and two million children waste away every year.
- Obesity is an abnormal accumulation of body fat, usually 20% or more over an individual’s ideal body weight. Obesity increases the risk of illness, disability and death. One-third of the world's population is now overweight or obese, and 62% of these individuals live in developing countries. Such obesity can result from the poor nutrition inflicted by an imported “Western” diet high in fat and “junk” food.
- 1000 Days: The 1,000 days from conception to a child’s second birthday are most critical for healthy development. Good nutrition provides the fuel for building cognitive and physical capacity for a lifetime.
- Maternal & Child Mortality: Anemia from iron deficiency affects over half a billion women worldwide, which can lead to maternal death and stillbirths, prematurity, and low birth weight. Over five million children die every year from preventable, treatable causes; and nearly half of those children die from lack of nutrition.
In the face of such dire facts, we can be encouraged by practical solutions with proven results. For example, scaling up breastfeeding could save the lives of an estimated 832,000 children per year. Breastfeeding boosts immunity, protects from diseases, increases intelligence, and is essential for healthy growth. In addition, other solutions include vitamin, micronutrient, iron and folic acid supplementation; staple food fortification; education about effective hygiene practices and, of course, immediate treatment of severe acute malnutrition.
Please join us in advocating for the protection or increase of funding for nutrition. U.S. assistance could take the form of (1) bilateral funding for nutrition, (2) Feed the Future program funding, (3) Food Aid, (4) emergency response programs to address food insecurity in conflict areas and humanitarian crises, and (5) multilateral programs such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The return on the investment in nutrition is impressive. For every $1 invested in nutrition and food security, there is a return of $16 in economic benefits.
We hope you will consider adding your support here: Faith-Based Coalition for Global Nutrition.
2016 Global Nutrition Report – From Promise to Impact: Ending Malnutrition by 2030
Victoria, C et al. (2016) “Breastfeeding in the 21st century: epidemiology, mechanisms, and lifelong effect.” The Lancet 387:475-490.