Community Statement on the President’s Budget Request for Global Nutrition Accounts

June 14, 2021

Community Statement on Biden Administration FY22 Discretionary Budget Request for Global Nutrition Accounts — 

The funds provided through the Global Health Nutrition sub-account, Maternal and Child Health (MCH) sub-account, Feed the Future, and Food for Peace Title II are critical to helping families around the world recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. We thank the Administration for continuing to invest in these accounts in their budget proposal and for highlighting that investments in the first 1,000 days—the period between the start of pregnancy to a child’s second birthday—greatly contribute to the reduction of child mortality and support long-term health, cognitive development, physical growth, and school and work performance later in life. 

We are grateful for the increased funding provided for the MCH sub-account. Largely flat funding for the rest of these critical accounts is not sufficient to meet the critical nutrition needs around the globe, especially in the context of COVID-19. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 1 in 3 people around the world had at least one form of malnutrition. Malnutrition-related deaths are entirely preventable, yet malnutrition contributes to roughly 3 million under-5 child deaths every year – one child in every 10 seconds. Those who do survive malnutrition in early childhood are much more likely to suffer from lifelong illness and impaired cognitive development, including up to an 18-point reduction in expected IQ and a 33 percent lower chance of escaping poverty as adults. These losses cost the world $3.5 trillion in lost productivity and healthcare costs every year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated existing inequities. By 2022, COVID-19 could lead to an additional 13.6 million children suffering from wasting (low weight in comparison to height), 3.6 million more children stunted (low height in comparison to age), and an additional 168,000 child deaths. The estimated additional burden of childhood stunting and child mortality would result in future productivity losses between the ages of 18 and 65 years (using country-specific life expectancy) of $44.3 billion. This pandemic has also highlighted how disruptions to national health and food systems disproportionately impact access to affordable and nutritious foods. Evidence shows that good nutrition, especially in the first 1,000-day window, has the power to promote health and long-term resilience to stressors like infectious diseases. Malnourished individuals are at far greater risk of contracting and dying from infectious diseases, in turn allowing these diseases to spread more easily.

Increased funding to these accounts will prevent thousands of maternal and child deaths and give millions of children the opportunity to grow and develop to their full potential. This critical funding to the supports many vital nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions such as prevention and treatment for children with wasting, Vitamin A supplementation, nutrition education, school feeding programs, exclusive breastfeeding, and infant and young child feeding practices.

For the U.S. to maximize the return on its investments across development and humanitarian assistance, nutrition is a smart investment. Each dollar invested into nutrition returns $35 in economic benefits and has the power to save lives. Addressing malnutrition will be a key pillar in building community resilience to future pandemics and improving global health security. We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to ensure that the United States can effectively lead this global effort.

1,000 Days, an initiative of FHI Solutions
Action Against Hunger 
Alliance to End Hunger 
Bread for the World
Catholic Relief Services
CORE Group
Farm Journal Foundation 
Food for the Hungry
Helen Keller International 
Meds & Food For Kids 
National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International
RISE Institute 
Save the Children
The Hunger Project
The Manoff Group
Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America