It boils down to the fact that people need strong minds and bodies if they are to seize opportunities and pull themselves out of poverty. Hunger weakens the mind and the body, in many ways. By nourishing hungry children today, we are putting the next generation of the world’s inhabitants in a much better position to deal with whatever problems they have to face.
Here are six facts and stats that illustrate this point:
1.Science has proven that a child’s first 1,000 days – in the womb and up to 2 years old – are critical to their physical and mental development. Children who are critically undernourished suffer irreversible damage.
2.Nourished women have healthier babies whose immune systems are stronger for life. Conversely, undernourished mothers pass malnutrition on to the next generation by giving birth to smaller, weaker babies.
3.Proper nutrition during the first two years of life can result in an increase in lifetime earnings by as much as 46 percent. (J. Hoddinott, The Lancet).
4.The combination of low birth weight, stunting and iodine deficiency can result in a reduction of up to 30 points in IQ and the body’s inability to resist disease for life. (World Bank).
5.Studies show it is more difficult for children to learn without adequate food and nutrition. There are 66 million primary school-age children who attend classes hungry across the developing world.
6.A third of all deaths in children under the age of five in developing countries are linked to hunger. (UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality).