Undernutrition is the single biggest killer of children globally, as 35% of preventable child deaths are attributed to undernutrition.
For close to 200 million undernourished children, chronic malnourishment during the first 1,000 days of their lives causes lifelong physical and cognitive damage.
Addressing and intervening in undernutrition helps individuals by promoting proper physical growth, healthy cognitive development, and strong immune systems.
Undernutrition interventions are also linked to improving communities by raising living standards, increasing GDP, and promoting cross-generational investments.
- Official development assistance for undernutrition is currently only $139 million – or 1.4% of the need identified by the World Bank.
Can you read these points and argue global undernutrition shouldn't be prioritized as a global development challenge? We can't. Yet over the decades nutrition has been neglected -- leaving us in a situation where almost 3 million children die every year due to causes that can be linked to their undernutrition.
Now, on the eve of the G8 Summit in London, world leaders will have the opportunity to contribute to accelerating progress on global nutrition. Governments, international agencies, and private industry will meet at the Nutrition for Growth high-level meeting where ambitious pledges and concrete plans have the potential to curb the devastating and irreversible effects of undernutrtion.
Advocates worldwide, including ACTION's partners, are encouraging their governments to support the cause. In the US, advocacy organizations like RESULTS are asking the Obama administration to pledge $1.35 billion (a fraction of US investment aid overseas) over the next three years to undernutrition interventions.
We have the ability to end undernutrition -- but now we must put in place the solutions we already know, and mobilize the resources to make it happen.