Searching for food pantry donations to add to my shopping cart, I realized that as much as some of the the food I’d choose would fill bellies, it might not provide much actual nutrition. I had to switch modes from trying to find pantry items with shelf life, to pantry items with nutritious value. Hunger and nutrition go hand in hand, but are really two separate elements of the same problem. Nutrition has been found to be especially critical during the period through pre-natal care up to a child’s second birthday when human development is most rapid.
March is National Nutrition Month, and the 1,000 Days Partnership organized an online #March4Nutrition to raise awareness about the critical role of nutrition in the 1,000 day window from a woman’s pregnancy to the child’s second birthday. Healthy mothers have healthy babies, who in turn grow up to be healthy mothers who have healthy babies themselves. The impact of good nutrition early in life can not be stressed enough. Good nutrition has long reaching positive impact that carries through into the child’s future. When a children grow up to lead healthy and productive lives, families, communities, and ultimately countries are positively impacted, and can break the cycle of poverty.
Leading scientists, economists and health experts agree that improving nutrition during the critical 1,000 day window is one of the best investments we can make to achieve lasting progress in global health and development.-www.Thousanddays.org
This months campaign broke down the 1,000 day period into stages, highlighting important aspects at each point.
- Pre-Pregnancy to Birth: During pregnancy not getting proper nutrition can have a detrimental effect on the healthy growth and development of the child. This increases the risk of death as a newborn and make the baby more likely to suffer from cognitive delays or physical defects, and possibly chronic health problems later in life.
- Infancy, Birth To Six Months: Great emphasis is put on the importance of breastfeeding during this time period, and the need to support mothers to do so. According to The World Health Organization breast milk, which is readily available and affordable, is the ideal food for a newborn. It provides both nutrients and antibodies that can help protect infants from common illnesses.
- Toddlerhood, Six months To Two Years Old: At this stage continuing breastfeeding if possible, and adding in nutritious foods, plenty of water, and maintaining good hygiene can have life long health benefits.
Malnutrition is a global issue, and the leading cause of death of young children throughout the world. It happens here too, according to my local food bank 1 in 3 customers they serve will be children. Having learned what I did this month throughout the #March4Nutrition, as I finished my shopping the other day I was sure to add in protein like Peanut butter, tuna fish, and beans. I chose whole grain products and canned fruits, and vegetables. Although I’m aware it is just a drop in the bucket, I believe every child deserves a chance to grow to their full potential. Raising awareness and donating what I can is how I can put my beliefs into action.
Learn more by following the #March4Nutrition hashtag with @The1,000DaysPartnership if you believe that every child, everywhere, deserves the right nutrition to grow, learn and thrive.
I wrote this post as part of The Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health. Our Motto: Individually we are all powerful. Together we can change the world. We believe in the power of collective action to help others and believe in ourselves to make this world a better place for our children and the world’s children.