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New Research Shows Nutrition Programs Targeting Pregnancy and First 24 Months of Life Dramatically Improve Child Survival and Overall Health
Date:1/16/2008

ke and illness and was estimated to be responsible for 1.4 million child deaths.

Together, stunting, severe wasting, low birth-weight and micronutrient deficiencies are responsible for more than one-third--approximately 35 percent--of under-5 child deaths and 11 percent of the global total disease burden.

Study shows that nutrition in first 2 years of life is more critical to long-term health than previously thought

Conditions such as stunting, severe wasting and low birth-weight in the first 2 years of life cause irreparable harm by impeding physical growth and--if followed by rapid weight gain in the 3-5 year age range--increasing the risk of chronic disease later in life. Children who are stunted or underweight at birth are also shown to complete fewer years of schooling and earn less income as adults. Lower income, poor health and reduced access to proper nutrition then impact the health of children born into future generations, establishing a repetitive cycle.

"The Bank's investments in nutrition over the recent years have focused on the crucial window of opportunity between pre-pregnancy to 24 months of age; however, it is clear now that we need even greater investment in this age group," said Joy Phumaphi, Vice President for Human Development of the World Bank, which co-financed some of the work for the Series. "Malnutrition robs youngsters of their human potential, and poor countries of vital economic growth, which is why the Bank will step-up its work in the 36 countries where 90 percent of the world's malnourished children live."

To help address nutrition in this critical age group, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) today announced a new initiative to strengthen private sector engagement in the fight against malnutrition in children under 2 years old. GAIN, with support from a USD $38 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will provide loans, grants, and technical advice to help
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SOURCE The Lancet
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