The right nutrition in the first 1,000 days provides the foundation for children to grow and nations to prosper.

Yet as essential as good nutrition is to human health and development, malnutrition is a problem of enormous magnitude. Globally, almost half of all child deaths are due to malnutrition and it is now estimated that 1/3 of the world’s population is malnourished—suffering from either undernutrition, obesity, deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals or some combination of all three.

Malnutrition is especially devastating to babies and young children whose brains and bodies depend on good nutrition for their healthy growth and development. And while the damage done is almost always irreversible and reaches far into the future, it is also entirely preventable. The right nutrition during the 1,000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s 2nd birthday can save lives and enable children to reach their full potential. It can also have a powerful impact on a country’s economy, boosting GDP by as much as 12%.

The Facts

Image credit: United Nations


children die from malnutrition every year

Imaged credit: ABC News


of children are stunted as a result of chronic malnutrition

Image credit: Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition


of this is preventable

Global Challenges

Brighter futures begin with better nutrition. Learn more about how the world is addressing the challenges of malnutrition and ensuring a healthier first 1,000 days for mothers and children everywhere.

Photo credit: Rodrigo Abd


Affecting 1 in 4 children worldwide, stunting is the most insidious—and often invisible—result of malnutrition.

Photo credit: World Bank


Breastfeeding gives children the best start to life yet 800,000 babies die each year as a result of practices that undermine women’s ability to breastfeed.

Photo credit: Getty Images


More than 40 million children globally are already overweight or obese before the age of 5 and at serious risk for lifelong health issues.

Photo credit: UNICEF

Acute Malnutrition

More action is needed to address the deadliest form of malnutrition which affects 52 million children under the age of five.

Photo credit: Gates Foundation

Low Birth Weight

Globally as many as 1 out 5 babies are born low birth weight. Reducing this means fewer newborn deaths and healthier futures for children.

Photo credit: World Bank


Anemia affects the health and well-being of not only 500 million women globally but also the future generations that depend on them.