More than 1 billion adolescent girls and women suffer from malnutrition today. The effects are passed down from mother to child. Malnourished mothers give birth to malnourished babies. These children suffer irreversible impacts on their brain development and futures.
It creates a cycle of chronic hunger.
Every country in the world is affected by malnutrition. It has developmental, economic, social and medical impacts for individuals and their families, for communities and for countries.
The good news:
We can end malnutrition.
This World Hunger Day, we’re shining a light on nutrition for new and expecting mothers. By investing in women, we can break the cycle of hunger and create a world where we all thrive.
8 common practices to ensure that mothers and their child thrive.
Providing education to women about the importance of proper nutrition, particularly during the first 1000 days of pregnancy and early motherhood, is essential. This includes understanding which foods are rich in essential nutrients and how to incorporate them into their diet.
Access to Nutritious Foods
Ensuring that pregnant and lactating women and young toddlers have access to various nutrient-dense foods is key. This may involve improving access to fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and dairy products through subsidies, food assistance programs, or community gardens.
Encouraging regular prenatal check-ups allows healthcare providers to monitor the nutritional status of pregnant women and provide appropriate guidance and interventions.
In cases where women may not be able to obtain all the necessary nutrients from their diet alone, supplementation with vitamins and minerals such as folic acid, iron, calcium, and vitamin D may be beneficial.
Encouraging and supporting breastfeeding
Breast milk provides essential nutrients and antibodies that help protect infants from illness and malnutrition. Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of potentially deadly diarrheal diseases in infants, particularly in regions where clean water is scarce.
Community Support and Empowerment
Creating supportive communities where women feel empowered to make healthy choices during pregnancy and lactation can be beneficial. This may involve mother support groups, community centers, or peer-to-peer networks where women can share experiences and knowledge about nutrition and motherhood.
Addressing Socioeconomic Factors
Addressing underlying socioeconomic factors such as poverty, food insecurity, and lack of access to healthcare and education can help alleviate barriers to proper nutrition for pregnant and lactating women.
Policy and Advocacy
Advocating for policies that prioritize maternal and child nutrition, such as maternity leave policies, support for breastfeeding mothers in the workplace, and programs that provide access to nutritious foods, can help address systemic issues contributing to maternal malnutrition.