Month: July 2017

It’s Time to Work Together on Health Care

We at 1,000 Days are encouraged that members of the U.S. Senate put the health and well-being of Americans ahead of politics. We thank all the senators who voted to stop the rushed effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – which would have stripped 16 million Americans of their health insurance according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. In particular, we commend Senators Collins, Murkowski and McCain for their courageous votes and calls for bipartisan negotiations through regular and deliberative Senate procedure.

We now urge all Members of Congress from both parties to work together to support and stabilize the health insurance markets and to build on current law to ensure women, infants and young children have access to comprehensive and affordable health care.

Time to Move On and Move Forward on Health Care

Senate leadership and the Trump Administration continue to play politics with people’s health care. Senator McConnell is planning for a vote early next week to entirely repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—with no plan to replace it. This is a desperate and irresponsible tactic that will result in 32 million Americans losing health coverage. The impact will be felt immediately, with 17 million people becoming uninsured next year. Or, they may resurrect the already-failed Better Health Care Reconciliation Act, which would similarly negatively impact millions of Americans and put the health of moms and babies at risk.

It’s time to move on and move forward.

1,000 Days urges every senator to reject these efforts, and instead to turn their attention to finding real solutions for America’s health care needs.

1,000 Days is calling on our elected officials to work together in a bi-partisan manner to support and stabilize the health insurance markets and ensure women, infants and young children have access to comprehensive and affordable health care. 1,000 Days also supports continued federal commitment to—and full funding of—Medicaid and CHIP, which together provide more than 45 million children with health insurance coverage.

We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to build on the success of the ACA to ensure all mothers, babies and toddlers in America have the care they need to thrive.

Statement on House Appropriations Committee’s Passage of State and Foreign Operations Bill

1,000 Days is grateful to House appropriators for their support of maternal and child nutrition in the Fiscal Year 2018 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. The legislation maintains level funding –$125 million – for nutrition in the Global Health Programs account. We appreciate the committee’s support for “effective nutrition interventions to reduce stunting, increase breastfeeding, promote early childhood development, and treat severe malnutrition”, as noted in the accompanying report.

Funding from the nutrition sub-account supports vital services to improve maternal diets; enhance nutrition during pregnancy; promote breastfeeding; and improve infant and young child feeding practices. These and other activities are essential to the goals outlined in the House report.

However, while we appreciate the House bill’s rejection of the Administration’s proposed deep cuts and eliminations to vital programs, and though we recognize the allocation provided the committee was lower than in recent years, we are concerned by the $10 billion cut to the FY18 international affairs topline as compared to the current level. Improved nutritional outcomes require a multi-sectoral response and robust funding across global health, development and humanitarian accounts, as well as sufficient resources to maintain strong technical capacity at USAID and other agencies.

For this reason, it is imperative that the full range of investments are protected and brought to scale so that we can see the tremendous returns possible when contributions from all sources – including the United States – are increased for high-impact interventions: 3.7 million child lives saved, 65 million fewer stunted children, and 265 million fewer women suffering from anemia.

The right nutrition in the first 1,000 days is an investment in ensuring children can reach their full potential and countries can reach their broader economic development goals. We appreciate the committee’s leadership and all Members who have championed greater progress against malnutrition. 1,000 Days looks forward to working with them and their Senate counterparts to ensure sustained and greater gains moving forward.

New Report: Stress Changes Babies’ Brains and Primes Them for Obesity

Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the United States since the 1970s. Currently, almost 1 in 5 children aged 2-19 is obese, putting them at increased risk for chronic health conditions like asthma and diabetes.

The causes of childhood obesity are complex, but one often over-looked factor is stress. Poverty, food insecurity, abuse, violence, and unpredictable or unstable caregiver relationships are all stressors that can have a profound and long-lasting impact on a child’s developing brain, obesity risk, and life-long health. Babies and toddlers are especially vulnerable to the damaging effect of stress. Healthy Eating Research (HER) recently released a new research review on Stress in Early Life and Childhood Obesity Risk in order to develop a better understanding of the ways in which early life stress is associated with childhood obesity risk. Below are some key findings from the report:

  • If a mom experiences acute or chronic stress before or during pregnancy it can impact the parts of her developing brain that protect against obesity, increasing the risk that the child will be obese in childhood and throughout life.
  • Chronic stress and adversity in infancy and toddlerhood can change systems in the brain that regulate self-control, potentially leading to poor eating behaviors and obesity.
  • Early stress also impacts the parts of the developing brain that control executive functions like working memory, flexible thinking and self-monitoring. Studies with young children have found that weakened executive function is linked to overweight and reduced ability to control and adjust how much is eaten.

The report also highlighted some of the ways in which poverty and food insecurity may lead to obesity-promoting diet practices. For example, young children often refuse new foods like fruits and vegetables between eight and 15 times before they are willing to eat them. One study showed that low-income families can’t afford to waste foods their children reject and are therefore more likely to purchase high calorie foods that their children will accept.

Families need support in order to combat the causes of early childhood stress and obesity. The HER researchers identified a number of programs and policies that can help families maintain stable and healthy home environments. Here are a few things families need in order to raise healthy kids:

  • Access to federal food assistance programs that fight poverty and food insecurity, such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
  • Access to affordable healthy food in their communities
  • Access to affordable health care and mental health care services

Investments in the health and development of young children are investments in our nation. Protecting children from stress and adverse childhood experiences is a societal responsibility that will lower the cost of healthcare and lead to a more prepared and effective workforce in the long run. It is also the only way to ensure that every child in the United States gets a fair shot at achieving their full potential.

Click here to read the full report.