1,000 Days: An Overview from Executive Director Lucy Sullivan

May 3, 2012

Lucy at NLC.nodeDuring The Hunger Project’s National Leadership Conference, held in New York March 31-April 1, 2012 Lucy M Sullivan, the Executive Director of 1,000 Days, explained the importance of maternal and early childhood nutrition to a selected group of activists, investors and THP staff.

Lucy explained that the 1,000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s 2nd birthday offer a unique window of opportunity to shape healthier and more prosperous futures. The right nutrition during this 1,000 day window can have a profound impact on a child’s ability to grow, learn, and rise out of poverty. It can also shape a society’s long-term health, stability and prosperity.

Today, undernutrition is still a leading cause of death of young children throughout the world. For infants and children under the age of two, the consequences of undernutrition are particularly severe, often irreversible, and reach far into the future.

Two of Lucy’s most compelling arguements for this emphasis on the 1,000 days (rather than the traditional focus on ages 0-5 years) were:

  • During pregnancy, undernutrition can have a devastating impact on the healthy growth and development of a child. Babies who are malnourished in the womb have a higher risk of dying in infancy and are more likely to face lifelong cognitive and physical deficits and chronic health problems.
  • For children under the age of two, undernutrition can be life-threatening. It can weaken a child’s immune system and make him or her more susceptible to dying from common illnesses such as pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria.

Lucy’s insightful presentation was videotaped and is available HERE.

The Hunger Project has been involved in the formulation and launching of this project with partner organizations Save the Children, Bread for the World and World Vision. The overall coordination is being led by InterAction (a coalition of NGOs) in partnership with the United Nations Scaling Up Nutrition Initiative.

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