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Month: March 2019

#March4Nutrition: Envision better support for the most vulnerable babies, toddlers and families

This National Nutrition Month, 1,000 Days is imagining a world in which all moms and babies are healthy, nourished and thriving through our annual #March4Nutrition campaign.

All month long we have been featuring the issues affecting mothers and their children, the work of 1,000 Days and our partners to ensure moms and babies are healthy and thriving, and how you can get involved!

This week we’re envisioning better programs that help the most vulnerable babies, toddlers and families get the food, nutrition and support they need to thrive.

Programs and policies that prioritize the health and nutrition of moms and babies can significantly improve health outcomes for young children and their families. These societal investments can positively impact the nutritional health of women, infants, toddlers and families by improving access to healthy foods, increasing a family’s economic security, and improving access to health services.

Providing moms and babies with the right supports – from the start – sets them up for success for the rest of their lives. But that requires expanding and strengthening programs and policies that help the most vulnerable with food and nutrition in the U.S. and around the world.

The Current Situation

Throughout the world, millions of young children and their mothers are struggling to get the nutrition, health care and support they need to thrive. Globally, an estimated 151 million children under age five are developmentally stunted as a result of chronic malnutrition in the first 1,000 days. Importantly, the data shows that 20-30% of childhood stunting begins before a baby is even born, highlighting the need to focus on maternal nutrition before and during pregnancy to stop the cycle of malnutrition.

This global crisis requires action and investment in the nutrition and well-being of women and children in the first 1,000 days, with a focus on the most disadvantaged.

In the U.S., poverty is a key driver of malnutrition as poor families struggle to access nutritious food and health services. A staggering 1 in 6 children in the U.S. under age 6 live in families that struggle to put enough nutritious food on the table every day. These children are less likely to get a thriving start to life because persistent food insecurity and poor nutrition put young children at risk of developmental delays and cognitive deficits.

Federal nutrition programs like the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) play a critical role in supporting the health and nutrition of young children and their families. Half of all babies in the U.S. are born into families participating in WIC, meaning their families receive supplemental nutritious foods, health care referrals, nutrition education, and breastfeeding support. WIC is a proven effective program that improves birth outcomes, access to healthy food and a child’s development.

The Opportunity

We envision a world where ALL babies, toddlers and families can access the food, nutrition and support they need to nourish themselves and the next generation.

Globally, 1,000 Days is helping to reduce the number of children who are affected by the devastating effects of malnutrition by advocating for proven, cost-effective nutrition programs. In 2018, Congress extended the Global Food Security Act (GFSA) for another 5 years through 2023. This legislation is an important step forward in recognizing that the nutritional status of women and children, especially during the critical 1,000-day window, is essential. 1,000 Days played a key role in advocating for the nutrition provisions in the legislation and continues to work to strengthen and expand global nutrition programs.

In the U.S., 1,000 Days educates policymakers on the critical importance of WIC, seeking to ensure ALL eligible women and children can participate in the program. 1,000 Days also championed the passing of a bipartisan Farm Bill that protects the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This means better access to nutritious foods for millions of families with young children.

In a world where all babies, toddlers and families have the support and nutrition they need, moms and their children will be nourished and healthy in their first 1,000 days and beyond.

#March4Nutrition: Envision better diets for babies and toddlers

This National Nutrition Month, 1,000 Days is imagining a world in which all moms and babies are healthy, nourished and thriving through our annual #March4Nutrition campaign.

All month long, we invite you to follow #March4Nutrition on Facebook and Twitter to learn about the issues affecting mothers and their children, the work of 1,000 Days and our partners to ensure moms and babies are healthy and thriving, and how you can get involved!

This week we’re envisioning better diets for babies and toddlers.

Food preferences and eating habits start forming in the first 1,000 days. In fact, during the first trimester of pregnancy, a baby’s sense of smell and taste begin to develop, which means all of the early “tasting” a baby does in utero can influence the kinds of food he will like later in life. Then, once a baby is born, breastfeeding provides him with the perfect nutrition to support brain development, healthy growth and a strong immune system. At 6 months of age, a baby starts to need more than just breastmilk or formula to support his rapid growth and development, so it is essential that he begins to be introduced to nutrient-rich whole foods like vegetables, fruits and proteins. And by the time a baby transitions to toddlerhood, he is encouraged to eat healthy meals to continue to fuel a strong body and smart brain.

Just as important as what babies and toddlers eat is what they should not eat – like foods and drinks with too much sugar or sodium. Unhealthy eating is a serious concern, as it is contributing to a dramatic rise in the levels of obesity in toddlers and young children. Young children who are overweight or obese are much more likely to be obese as adults and are at increased risk for serious health problems in adulthood, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Supporting healthy weight gain, teaching good eating habits and encouraging responsive feeding practices for babies and toddlers can help build a foundation for a thriving future.

The Current Situation

Unfortunately, too many kids grow up without the essential nutrients they need to thrive. Globally, poor diet is responsible for more ill health than any other cause and is the second-leading risk factor for death. In addition, only 51% of children aged 6-23 months meet the minimum meal frequency, and a mere 25% meet the minimum dietary diversity, with large disparities on these rates around the world. Meanwhile, as unhealthy diets and feeding practices become pervasive, obesity is increasingly affecting young children.

Here in the U.S., the situation is similarly concerning. The diets of U.S. infants and toddlers now mirror the adult American diet, with too few fruits, vegetables and other nutrient-rich foods and too many added sugars and saturated fats. More than a quarter of young children from 6 months to 4 years do not eat a single serving of vegetables on a given day. Among those toddlers who do eat vegetables, french fries are most commonly consumed. Meanwhile, over half of toddlers and preschoolers have one or more sugar-sweetened beverages per day.

Furthermore, parents and caregivers often make eating and feeding decisions with very little guidance and use conflicting information. According to a nationally representative online survey conducted by 1,000 Days and Harris Poll, more than half of the mothers surveyed said they received mixed messages about what to feed their young children. Mothers and other caregivers struggle to reconcile contradictory information on infant and young child feeding from a wide array of sources ranging from health providers to parenting sites and other moms on social media.

The Opportunity

We envision a world where ALL parents can access the information and the nutritious foods they need to give their kids a healthy start.

1,000 Days is taking several important steps to ensure babies and toddlers everywhere have healthy diets. As an immediate solution, we are partnering with experts – including the CDC – to translate evidence-based nutrition information into practical resources for parents. We answer parents’ top questions about what, when, and how to feed infants and toddlers in a series of bite-sized videos. Watch them here!

We are also tracking the development of the first-ever dietary recommendations for pregnant women, infants and toddlers in the next Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The new guidance will provide parents and caregivers with the evidence-based information they need to give their children the best chance to lead healthy, prosperous lives that are free of preventable chronic disease. The recommendations will also inform federal nutrition programs that reach young children and their families, as well as serve as an important reference point for physicians, nutrition counselors, and early childcare providers.

In a world where all babies and toddlers have healthy diets, children will be set up for a healthy, thriving future. This is the world we want.

Yet Again, Moms and Babies Left Behind in the Trump Budget

For the 3rd consecutive year, the Trump Administration has again refused to prioritize the health and well-being of mothers and babies in its annual budget proposal, calling for devastating cuts to global and domestic programs that would jeopardize critical supports for families here and around the world. From drastic changes to SNAP—a program that helps …

#March4Nutrition: Envision better support for women to reach their breastfeeding goals

In honor of National Nutrition Month, 1,000 Days kicked off its annual #March4Nutrition campaign last week to imagine a world in which all moms and babies are healthy, nourished and thriving. All month long, we invite you to follow #March4Nutrition on Facebook and Twitter and learn about the issues affecting mothers and their children, the …

This National Nutrition Month envision better for moms and babies around the world

In honor of National Nutrition Month, 1,000 Days is kicking off its annual #March4Nutrition campaign to amplify the importance of improving health systems, policies and programs that support mothers and children to be healthy and nourished. During the next four weeks, we invite you to follow #March4Nutrition on Facebook and Twitter and learn about the …

Big step in the development of the next Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Remember the Food Pyramid? Or, maybe more recently you’ve seen your child learning about MyPlate? The federal government has been providing dietary guidance to Americans every five years since 1980, and the Food Pyramid and MyPlate are just two ways they’ve displayed those guidelines over time. Unfortunately, no current or past version of the Dietary …