By Bread Staff
Bread for the World’s 2016 Offering of Letters: Survive and Thrive is focused on the nutrition and health of mothers and children around the world. By participating in this year’s Offering of Letters, you can be part of God’s movement in our time, giving us many opportunities to actually end hunger within a generation.
Ending hunger means more than just providing enough food and calories for everyone. Side by side with the need for sufficient food to live an active life is the need for the right foods— proper nutrition. A diet drawing from all food groups that is rich with vitamins and minerals is crucial for the health, growth, and strength of both bodies and minds.
Focusing on women and young children is important because these groups are the most vulnerable to hunger and malnutrition. Nearly half of the world’s smallholder farmers are women, with higher rates in developing countries. That means in the rural areas of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, the majority of people engaging in subsistence farming to feed themselves and their families are women. Being a smallholder farmer often means living on the edge. Changes in the climate, a natural disaster, or even just the limits of what can be grown on a small plot of land can limit both the quantity and quality of the food a family eats. And this can be devastating to a woman and her family.
Women are also the ones in a family primarily responsible for caring for the children. Bread for the World Institute’s analysis shows that giving children good nutrition early in life—starting in the womb— benefits them in a multitude of ways throughout their entire lives. Studies show that malnutrition during the early months of a child’s life can stunt their physical and cognitive development and increases the risk of illness in childhood and later in life. As a result, the cost of malnutrition is very high in terms of health care, school readiness, amount of education, and lost productivity and income.
In short, Bread believes good nutrition is key to combatting hunger and that good nutrition—eating well—is a pathway to good health and living an active, thriving life.
Congress plays a critical role in setting the policies and funding levels that will enable the U.S. government to do its part to improve nutrition and health among mothers and children. Through the Offering of Letters, you can help Congress summon the political will to do this.
Bread wants Congress to increase funding for the nutrition and health of mothers, newborns, and young children. In 2015, funding for nutrition in the global health account was $115 million — a slight increase from previous years.
Bread and its partners believe a funding level of $230 million for nutrition programs is needed for 2016. Increasing U.S. investment in global maternal and child nutrition is central to successful development and helps improve the potential of millions of people.
Tell Congress to increase funding for the nutrition and health of mothers, newborns, and young children today. Learn more about the 2016 Offering of Letters: Survive and Thrive, and make sure to participate in a letter-writing event.