Month: September 2018

Trump Administration “Public Charge” proposal could have disastrous consequences for mothers and babies in the U.S.

1,000 Days calls on the Trump Administration to shelve its proposed public charge rule – a proposal that will cause millions of immigrant women and children to forgo the critical medical, nutrition and housing programs they need to keep their families healthy and safe.

Read 1,000 Days’ Public Comment in opposition to the proposed rule sent to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Thursday, December 6, 2018.

“Public charge” is a test used during the citizenship process and this proposed rule expands that test such that the U.S. Government can consider whether a family has used or is likely to use public programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid.

The effects of this rule will be especially disastrous for pregnant women, babies and toddlers. Without the critical nutrition, health care and safe housing support that these programs provide, expectant mothers and young children will be put at risk for malnutrition and serious health problems. In fact, the proposed rule itself notes that “disenrollment or foregoing enrollment in public benefits program by [people] otherwise eligible for these programs could lead to: Worse health outcomes, including increased prevalence of obesity and malnutrition, especially for pregnant or breastfeeding women, infants, or children…”

The damage done by malnutrition and other preventable health conditions during pregnancy and the first two years of a child’s life can be irreversible. Children who are malnourished early in life are at greater risk of failure to thrive. They are more likely to have developmental delays, perform poorly at school and struggle to lead healthy lives. And when children fail to reach their full potential, we all feel the consequences.

It is why basic nutrition and health services for women and young children—regardless of immigration status—must be protected. 1,000 Days is deeply concerned that this Trump Administration proposal will also add to the climate of fear and intimidation that is already causing immigrant families to drop out of critical nutrition and health programs they are legally authorized to use.

1,000 Days urges individuals across America to speak out against this latest Trump Administration attack on immigrant families and we will join forces with partners to mobilize public comments opposing this rule.

Congressional Outlook: What We’re Watching this Fall

Congress has kicked off their fall legislative session with a packed agenda and not many legislative days to accomplish it. Federal funding, judicial nominations, the Farm Bill, possibly legislation to address the opioid crisis are just a few of the priorities competing for limited floor time. 1,000 Days is paying particular attention to a few key issues that are critical for moms, children and families:

Federal Funding
Funding for the federal government expires on September 30, giving Congress just a handful of legislative days to agree to Fiscal Year 2019 spending packages—or to pass a short-term patch. If the House and Senate cannot reach an agreement, there is the potential for a federal government shut down.  1,000 Days is carefully watching and providing feedback as it relates to funding for programs that support moms and their families in the U.S., as well as programs that prevent malnutrition in women and children in developing countries. We will continue to urge Congress to make the needed investments that moms, babies, and their families need to thrive.

Farm Bill
Both the House and the Senate have passed their separate versions of the Farm Bill. The House version includes deep and profoundly negative changes to SNAP that will harm families’ ability to purchase the food they need. The bipartisan Senate version includes small, commonsense changes to SNAP, which are supported by 1,000 Days and the broader nutrition community.

The bipartisan Conference Committee – comprised of 56 members of the House and the Senate – is now working to find a compromise between the two versions. 1,000 Days strongly large supports the Senate version of the Farm Bill and, in partnership with other advocates and experts, will urge rejection of the House’s harmful cuts and instead to move forward with changes that protect access to nutrition assistance.

The Farm Bill also authorizes several international food security programs, which help millions of people around the world survive malnutrition.  1,000 Days has called on the Conference Committee to retain important provisions from the House and Senate bills that would improve and strengthen the programs, allowing them to reach more beneficiaries in more effective ways.

Read 1,000 Days letter to the Conference Committee.

Comprehensive Health Insurance
Comprehensive coverage and protections for people with pre-existing conditions remains at risk. A legal challenge in the Texas Federal District Court, legislation offered by several Republican Senators, and continued regulatory action by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) could have a terrible outcome: making comprehensive coverage much more expensive and allowing insurers to charge more or deny coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Many will remember when being a woman, having a child, or being of childbearing age were considered “pre-existing conditions” – we cannot go backwards.

1,000 Days will continue to amplify the voices of moms across the country by advocating for the consumer protections families need to access comprehensive, affordable health care.

Paid Leave
Over the summer, Senator Rubio offered token legislation that does little to achieve the goal of a national paid leave program for all. Meanwhile, new research shows the strong support for paid leave among the American public. 1,000 Days will continue to advocate for a national paid leave policy that supports new moms and their families. We urge Congress to enact legislation that achieves that goal.

Good Nutrition in the First 1,000 Days to Reduce NCDs

Around the world, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes make up 70% of health-related deaths, posing the largest threat to people’s health globally and costing the global economy trillions of dollars.

Unhealthy diets & sedentary lifestyles are consistently linked to a rise in obesity & diet-related NCDs, and ultimately, premature death – and it’s not just adults that are affected by these conditions. In 2018, an estimated 38 million children under age five were overweight and at greater risk of developing a diet-related non-communicable disease.

More than two-thirds of overweight children live in low and middle-income countries, and many of these countries are dealing with rising levels of obesity alongside other forms of malnutrition, including the crises of childhood stunting, wasting and micronutrient deficiencies. The coexistence of overweight/obesity and undernutrition, known as a “double burden of malnutrition,” can occur in the same country, family and even in the same person.

In fact, being malnourished as a child increases the risk of obesity and diet-related NCDs later in life.

An established – and growing – body of evidence shows that the 1000-day window between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s 2nd birthday, is a particularly critical period in which how well or how poorly a child is nourished has a profound impact on a child’s health, for the rest of their life.

Good nutrition in the first 1,000 days reduces the risk of malnutrition and chronic, non-communicable diseases.

  • Providing nutrition counseling and health care for women before and during pregnancy reduces the risk of having a malnourished child. Proper nourishment during pregnancy reduces the child’s risk of developing obesity or NCDs later in life. It also helps ensure women gain the appropriate amount of weight and helps prevent gestational diabetes.
  • Promoting, protecting and supporting breastfeeding gives children the best start to life and can prevent NCDs in both mother and child. The natural biological make-up of breastmilk helps regulate food intake and energy balance and reduce the risk of childhood obesity. Breastfeeding also is shown to reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancers in women.
  • Ensuring access to healthy, nutritious and age-appropriate foods for young children, after exclusively breastfeeding for six months and as a complement to continued breastfeeding, sets the foundation for a child’s healthy eating habits and lifelong health.

This month, the United Nations General Assembly is hosting a High-Level Meeting on NCDs and 1,000 Days will be joining partners in calling on world leaders to commit to action and investment to reduce NCDs. ENOUGH to childhood obesity and the health risk it entails. It’s time for policymakers to step-up, invest and implement policies that promote a healthy first 1,000 days to help reduce all forms of malnutrition and diet-related NCDs.

Please join us in highlighting the importance of good nutrition in the first 1,000 days by following us on Twitter and Facebook this month in the lead up to the UN High-Level Meeting on NCDs on September 27th.

To learn more about policies that can reduce both undernutrition and overweight and obesity, check out the WHO brief on Double-Duty Actions.