News / USA

Global Activists Seek Improved Nutrition for Pregnant Women, Infants

A mother feeds her malnourished child at the Nutritional Rehabilitation Centre in Sheopur district in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, April 6, 2010
A mother feeds her malnourished child at the Nutritional Rehabilitation Centre in Sheopur district in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, April 6, 2010

Multimedia

Laurel Bowman

Malnutrition in the 1,000 days from the early stages of pregnancy through the age of two, causes irreversible physical and mental damage in one out of every three children worldwide. That's according to Bread for the World Institute, an organization that aims to end hunger across the globe. The group convened a massive gathering Monday in Washington, D.C, in an effort to build political momentum for its cause - improving nutrition for pregnant women and infants around the world.

In the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, infant mortality is dropping. Free prenatal care, offered close to home, is the key to India’s campaign to reduce maternal and infant deaths. Health clinic workers teach mothers how to meet their babies’ nutritional needs and how to sustain themselves with proper foods while pregnant.

“I come every two weeks for a check-up and they give me the medication and supplements I need," said one pregnant young woman, Sunati, in Tamil. "They also ask me to eat a lot of greens, iron-rich foods and eggs.”

Malnutrition among pregnant women and infants was the focus of the conference. Hundreds of aid workers and activists gathered to build political momentum for nutrition efforts they say could save 1 million children every year.

Asma Lateef is with Bread for the World, which aims to end hunger worldwide.

"We know now that if you miss the 1,000 days window of opportunity between pregnancy and age two, the impact on a child is irreversible," said Lateef. "There is nothing you can do to make up for malnutrition during that critical window of opportunity.”

Lateef said efforts as simple as hand-washing - to reduce diarrhea - and breast-feeding - the healthiest alternative for infants - go a long way toward fighting malnutrition. And she said these relatively cheap investments on the front-end save nations money down the line.

“Countries with a high burden of malnutrition - and there are 36 countries in the world that have a high burden of malnutrition - for those countries they lose two percent to three percent of their gross national product or their national income because of malnutrition," she said.  "That’s a catastrophic loss… ”

Global nutrition activists hope to make theirs a more popular cause. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has given weight to their efforts.  She launched the One Thousand Days Partnership at the U.N. Development Goals Summit last year. The aim: ending child malnutrition.

“The Obama administration has put women and children at the heart of our development efforts, including our global health initiative - a $63-billion initiative to strengthen maternal and child health, family planning, nutrition," said Clinton.

Maternal and infant nutrition experts say those countries struggling with chronic hunger must take the lead in combating their nations’ problems, backed up by wealthy donor nations delivering sustained support.

You May Like

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs