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Maternal and Child Nutrition
Transforming Fear Into Action December 18
Rising food prices and the financial crisis have led to an increase in hunger and malnutrition.
Children, particularly those younger than 2, are at special risk of hunger. The consequences of malnutrition during this critical window of development are long-term and irreversible.
Poor fetal growth and/or persistent undernutrition early in life causes permanent damage, including diminished intellectual capacity, impaired immune function and shorter height. These problems lead to lower achievement in school and lower productivity on the job.
Malnutrition is such a central issue that no fewer than three of the eight U.N. Millennium Development Goals depend on improving nutrition—eradicating hunger, improving maternal health, and reducing child mortality. Despite the well-documented human and economic toll malnutrition takes on women and young children, the issue has failed to capture attention and interest.
In January 2008, the British medical journal The Lancet published a five-part series on nutrition, calling it “a desperately neglected aspect of maternal, newborn and child health … [that] has slipped through the gap.”
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