Month: September 2015

Dupage County Partnership


DuPage County, located just west of Chicago, Illinois, is home to more than 900,000 people. Historically, DuPage County has been identified as one of the wealthiest counties in the nation as well as one of the healthiest ones according to the National County Health Rankings. Despite plentiful resources, the public health system in DuPage County is challenged by significant socio-economic changes among its most vulnerable residents, including women and children in the critical 1,000 day window.

We often think of malnutrition as an issue “over there.” Whether we imagine it to be an issue affecting people in other countries, or even people in other communities, we don’t often think malnutrition is affecting children and families in our own neighbor hoods. But the numbers tell us a different story.


Estimates bring the number of DuPage County children experiencing food insecurity in 2012 to 37,130(15%), and approximately 20,000 DuPage County children are living in poverty.1,2 The impact of food insecurity and poverty on child health and development is well-documented and emerging evidence around the “origins of health and disease” shows the link between early-life exposure (including food and nutrition, or lack thereof) on long-term health and disease, including obesity, heart disease and cancer. Across DuPage County, at least one in four kindergarteners entering public school is overweight or obese, and these numbers climb as children get older.3 And while breastfeeding initiation rates are similar to those for the State of Illinois, with nearly 80% of babies starting on breastmilk, by just 2 months of age just 55% of babies are being breastfed.4


This is just a snapshot of the state of the first 1,000 Days in DuPage County. Yet there is strong scientific evidence that shows that proper nutrition during the critical 1,000 day window—from a woman’s pregnancy through a child’s second birthday—provides the essential building blocks for brain development, healthy growth, and a strong immune system. As a result, DuPage County partners, including the DuPage County Health Department, the DuPage Federation on Human Services Reform, Loaves & Fishes, and People’s Resource Center, have teamed up with 1,000 Days, a leading maternal and child health advocacy organization working to ensure good nutrition for mothers and children during the critical window from pregnancy through age two in the U.S. and around the world.


1,000 Days: DuPage County is focusing its efforts on two priority areas: breastfeeding and food insecurity. By encouraging practices that support breastfeeding in hospitals and workplaces, and assessing food insecurity in our community, we strive to ensure a healthy start from pregnancy through age two.

Contact Us

For more information on 1,000 Days: DuPage County or to get involved, please contact:

Lorena Vaughn,
Program Director, Early Childhood Regional Collaboration
DuPage Federation on Human Services Reform

[1]DuPage Data, Feeding America; Mind the Meal Gap 2014
[2]U.S. Census Bureau, 2009-2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates
[3]DuPage County Health Department, FORWARD
[4]March of Dimes Peristats, 2014

The 2015 Global Nutrition Report shows progress is slow, but possible

The 2015 Global Nutrition Report – the only comprehensive report on all forms of malnutrition in all counties – was launched in New York City on September 22nd.

Serving as a report card on the world’s nutrition, the report shows how much progress the world is making on reducing malnutrition, what governments need to do to accelerate progress, and how citizens can hold their leaders responsible to do so.

Key findings:

  • Nearly half of all countries face multiple serious burdens of malnutrition such as poor child growth, micronutrient deficiency, and adult overweight and obesity.
  • No country is on track to achieve the global nutrition targets established by the World Health Assembly.
  • If improvements to nutritional status are to be accelerated, countries must invest more than the estimated 5% or less than is currently being spent from national budgets on nutrition and must focus on high-impact interventions.


While the 2015 Global Nutrition Report makes it clear that progress to reduce malnutrition has been slow and uneven, it also shows that progress is possible. The report highlights the many policy, program and investment opportunities to drive impact, as well as several examples of countries making strides.


The second in an annual series, the 2015 Global Nutrition Report also highlights the relationship between climate change and nutrition, as well as how countries can build food systems that are more nutrition friendly and sustainable.

1,000 Days is proud to be a partner on the Global Nutrition Report and serve as an advisor to the report as part of the Executive Committee. The report, as well as supplemental materials and data, can be downloaded at the Global Nutrition Report website.

Eating To Support Baby’s Brain Development

Brain development begins with the anatomical formation of the brain and spine, and proceeds with “traffic flow,” or the establishment of the nervous system. While it may not seem obvious, this proper brain development and growth depends largely on nutrition. Proper nutrition during pregnancy helps ensure your baby will develop normally inside and outside of the womb, especially in the areas of thinking, learning, behavior and language development.

What are the best bets in terms of healthy, nutritious foods? Plenty of lean protein, omega-3 fats, iron, zinc and folate, as well as other nutrients.

Eating a well-balanced diet that includes healthy meals and snacks full of wholesome food (not too many sweets and fried foods) and a daily prenatal vitamin gives your baby the best chance at normal brain development. Make sure you avoid substances like alcohol and cigarettes, as they are known to impair the formation and wiring of your baby’s brain. So grab those almonds, leafy greens and lean meats, and get to munching!

Learn more about how your baby’s brain develops from Zero to Three


Jill Castle is a registered dietitian and childhood nutrition expert. As a former private practice owner, she currently shares her expertise as a writer, speaker and consultant. She is the co-author of Fearless Feeding: How to Raise Healthy Eaters from High Chair to High School and author of the upcoming book Eat Like a Champion: Performance Nutrition for Your Young Athlete (2015). www.JillCastle.com

A call to action to end malnutrition by 2030

Last month, world leaders agreed to a historic goal: to end malnutrition in all its forms by the year 2030.

Though ambitious, this target is achievable—but it’s going to take governments and people everywhere making nutrition a funding priority. More than 65 organizations throughout the world are calling on leaders to do just that. The Call to Action to End Malnutrition urges decision-makers to increase investments directed toward ending malnutrition in all its forms and achieving the internationally agreed-upon global targets to improve maternal, infant and young child nutrition.

A world free from malnutrition is a world worth fighting for. Join us. If your organization would like to sign the call to action, please contact manuel@thousanddays.org with full names and include a high-resolution logo (.jpg or .png) for your organization.