Lighting the torch to end malnutrition

With the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro just over a year away—along with the next Nutrition for Growth conference hosted by the Government of Brazil—1,000 Days hosted nutrition leaders and advocates on Capitol Hill earlier this year to “light the torch” for nutrition.

The event featured Melinda Gates (co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), Julie Foudy (three-time Olympic Medalist), the Honorable Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado (the Ambassador of Brazil to the U.S.).

Numerous Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle participated in the event, including Representatives Ed Royce (R-CA), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and Jim McGovern (D-MA), demonstrating the truly bi-partisan nature of tackling hunger and malnutrition around the world. Krysta Harden, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, reinforced this message, stating that malnutrition has neither geographic nor political boundaries.

During her keynote remarks, Melinda Gates highlighted the prolonged underinvestment in nutrition programs, noting that while malnutrition is responsible for more than half of all childhood deaths worldwide, less than one percent of overseas development assistance (ODA) is directed to nutrition programs. Proclaiming that “nutrition’s time is now,” Melinda Gates announced that the Gates Foundation would be “doubling down” on investments in nutrition to give women and children the opportunity to survive and thrive. She called on governments and organizations alike to join her Foundation in accelerating action on nutrition.

While the Olympic moment for nutrition may by over a year away, the message is clear: investing in nutrition is a golden opportunity.