Month: July 2020

ICYMI: COVID-19 Latest Predictions on Malnutrition Virtual Dialogue

New analyses published in The Lancet have brought sobering predictions of more babies and children dying from preventable diseases, and particularly child malnutrition, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We all must make the time to understand the data; affirm the strategies that have the greatest impact; and unite together to achieve results.

Panelists for the dialogue included.

  • Purnima Menon, Senior Research Fellow at International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
  • Dr. Meseret Zelalem, Director for Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition at the Federal Ministry of Health, Ethiopia
  • Roger Thurow, journalist, author and Senior Fellow of Global Food and Agriculture at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs

Watch a full recording of the webinar below.

Co-sponsored by Bread for the World, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and 1,000 Days, we heard first-hand accounts from a doctor on the front lines; from a researcher who is a core member of the Standing Together for Nutrition coalition and studying program adaptations in the context of the pandemic; and from a storyteller who will share best practices (and turnkey resources) to bring these stories to life that will inspire our leaders to act.

August is all about breastfeeding

August 1st marks the beginning of National Breastfeeding Month and World Breastfeeding Week, celebrating the importance of breastfeeding in the U.S. and around the world. All month 1,000 Days will be highlighting the amazing benefits of breastfeeding for both mom and baby.

Breastfeeding gives baby the very best start to life — and the benefits reach far into the future. Numerous studies have shown that breastfeeding promotes healthy cognitive and social-emotional development. It also saves lives by helping to protect babies from infections, conditions such as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia. Breastfeeding even lowers a child’s risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life.

Breastfeeding also has powerful health benefits for moms. It helps women’s bodies recover from childbirth and decreases the risk of postpartum bleeding. It also reduces a woman’s risk of heart disease, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and depression.

Successful breastfeeding relies on women having enough time, energy and capacity – but women in every corner of the world face too many barriers to start and continue breastfeeding. In the U.S., about 1 in 6 babies is never breastfed, and more than half of mothers do not breastfeed for as long as they intend to. There are also notable disparities in breastfeeding rates. Globally, less than half of babies under 6 months old are exclusively breastfed – meaning they are missing out on the healthiest start to life.

No one breastfeeds alone. It takes support from everyone – from parents to policymakers, health facilities, communities and employers.

1,000 Days advocates for policies and programs that help women meet their breastfeeding goals, like access to comprehensive, equitable paid family and medical leave for all workers in the United States. Paid leave gives mothers the time they need to establish and continue breastfeeding without the added worry of sacrificing their family’s economic security. And studies show that children whose mothers take longer leaves from work are more likely to be breastfed and to be breastfed for longer.

Breastfeeding is a universal solution that gives everyone a fair start in life and lays the foundation for moms and babies to survive and thrive. We all have a role to play in supporting breastfeeding, and we hope you’ll join us this National Breastfeeding Month as a breastfeeding champion.

To support partners in their social media advocacy this month, 1,000 Days has developed this Inspiration Guide to pump up the volume on breastfeeding. This Guide is a living document of unbranded content and messaging for advocates and all stakeholders to utilize throughout the month of August. We have included messaging and graphics on how breastfeeding supports a healthier planet and content to support the weekly themes of National Breastfeeding Month. Check it out here.

The Next Coronavirus Relief Package: What We’re Advocating For

In May, the House of Representatives passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, a $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill that would bolster supplemental funding and expand a wide range of programs and policies impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Later this session, the Senate is expected to consider their own supplemental funding bill. We urge Congress to move swiftly and with bipartisan, bicameral support in enacting legislation that ensures women and children in their first 1,000 days have the resources and support they need to have a healthy, thriving future.

1,000 Days is the leading nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to ensure women and children in the United States and around the world have the healthiest first 1,000 days. We know that the 1,000 days from a woman’s pregnancy to her child’s second birthday offers a window of tremendous opportunity to build a foundation for lifelong health and well-being.  We advocate on behalf of moms and babies for the (1) strengthening and improvement of nutrition programs that support families in the U.S. and around the world; (2) enactment of a federal paid family and medical leave policy; (3) increased access to quality, comprehensive health care; and (4) adequate support for all moms to meet their breastfeeding goals.

Coronavirus has exposed the health inequities and food insecurity faced by many families in the United States and around the world – and women and children have been among the most gravely affected.  Now more than ever, our Congressional leaders must center health and nutrition as an essential, topline priority. Additionally, 1,000 Days recognizes paid family and medical leave as a public health imperative, which the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted.  Lack of paid leave threatens public health and community wellness, yet the vast majority of Americans do not have access. It is also imperative during this public health crisis that all families have access to affordable, high-quality health care, regardless of their employment or economic status. Finally, we must maintain our role as a global leader in supporting the nutrition and health services of developing countries, which undergirds and directly correlates with their capacity to respond to the pandemic.

To this end, here’s what we’re hoping to see in the next coronavirus relief package. Congress should:

  • Increase funding and flexibility for vital federal nutrition programs like SNAP and WIC, which helps ensure that low income moms, babies and families have access to nutritious food.
  • Expand upon the paid leave provisions established in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, ensuring that all workers have access to paid, job-protected leave to tend to their own health needs or care for a child or sick loved one.
  • Provide additional funding to states to help provide health insurance to low- and moderate-income families through the Medicaid program and ensure adequate funding for testing and treatment of COVID-19 for the uninsured.
  • Fully fund USAID anti-hunger programs, including the Global Health Programs Nutrition Subaccount, to ensure that COVID-19 does not erase decades of progress in fighting malnutrition and related health conditions.

Here at 1,000 Days, we work to advance a strong foundation for mothers, children and their communities by upholding the well-being of women and children in the first 1,000 days as a policy and funding imperative. We urge Congress to prioritize the needs of moms, babies and their families as they work to stem the public health and economic consequences of this pandemic, in the United States and around the world. We must ensure that families in the critical 1,000-day window have the resources they need to stay fed, secure and healthy, now and into the future.

Health Experts Share Much-Anticipated Recommendations for New Dietary Guidelines

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) released their Scientific Report in advance of the upcoming 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This report represents a systematic review of all data and research analyzed by the DGAC since commencing their work in early 2019 and provides an important preview of the upcoming guidelines.

For the first time, the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans will include specific recommendations for the diets of infants and children from birth to 24 months of age. This inclusion, along with the guidance for pregnant and lactating women, is critical as the 1,000-day window between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday sets the foundation for a child’s long-term health and wellbeing. Access to high quality nutrition during this period is fundamental. 

Today’s Scientific Report includes several important findings on the diets of moms and babies in the 1,000-day window:

  • A woman’s health during her pregnancy is heavily influenced by her pre-pregnancy diet, underlining the importance of developing lifelong healthy eating patterns.
  • A healthy diet during pregnancy reduces the risk for certain pregnancy-related health conditions, like gestational diabetes and hypertensive disorders, and it reduces the risk of preterm birth.
  • Babies who were ever breastfed were found to have reduced risk of overweight and obesity, type 1 diabetes, and asthma
  • No amount of added sugar should be included for a baby’s development
  • Infant and child diets during the 1,000-day window affect their palate and taste for certain food into adulthood.  Children younger than 24-months should avoid consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, both to reduce risk of childhood overweight and to prevent likelihood of greater sugar-sweetened beverage intake later in life.
  • Food insecurity is a persistent and pernicious threat to healthy development, with more than 6 million American children living in households with inconsistent or insufficient access to healthy, affordable food. Black, Latino, and low-income families, as well as families with young children and single-parent households were more likely to be food insecure

The Committee also noted that, due to a dearth of research on the diets of infants and children before the age of 2, they were unable to establish specific dietary recommendations, but did provide several examples of healthy food patterns for babies and toddlers. 

We look forward to the final Dietary Guidelines, expected to be released by HHS and USDA later this year, and continue to encourage the Committee to ensure these guidelines are based on the best, independent data and research. The health of moms, babies, their families, communities and our nation depend on it.