Malnutrition Dramatically Impacting Mothers & Infants Across America

WASHINGTON, Sept. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — 1,000 Days, a leading nutrition advocacy organization, released a new report today showing that the majority of children in America do not benefit from the nutrition they need for proper brain development and lifelong health.

The report, titled The First 1,000 Days: Nourishing America’s Future, finds that malnutrition is not just a challenge for mothers and babies globally—unhealthy diets, suboptimal infant and toddler feeding practices, and food insecurity have dire consequences for the health and prosperity of families in the United States. The report specifically focuses on the 1,000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and a child’s second birthday, when the right nutrition has a life-changing impact on a child’s ability to grow, learn and succeed.
“The science behind the impact of poor nutrition during the first 1,000 days is clear. This is a time of incredible growth for children’s brains and bodies and they need to be fueled with good nutrition,” said Lucy Sullivan, Executive Director of 1,000 Days. “All children, regardless of where they are born, deserve a strong start in life and the opportunity to reach their full potential. We are committed to ensuring women and children everywhere have the healthiest first 1,000 days, and that includes women and children here in the United States.”

1,000 Days has issued a set of recommendations where greater action and investment can have a transformative impact on the future health and well-being of America’s youngest children. Among other priorities, the organization is calling for:

  • Increased support for healthy pregnancies by ensuring access to high quality preconception and prenatal care, nutrition education and obesity prevention programs;
  • Improved support for mothers to breastfeed by creating breastfeeding-friendly communities, workplaces and healthcare facilities; and
  • Strengthened programs that reach low-income babies, toddlers and their families.

“Nutrient deficiency is robbing children of their potential,” said Hugh Welsh, President and General Counsel of DSM North America, a manufacturer of nutritional and food ingredients. “It is time to focus on nourishing our country’s youngest children—the health and well-being of our nation depends on it.”

Among the findings, the report identifies ten building blocks essential for all children to have the strongest start to life, including:

  • A nutritious diet for expectant moms and moms-to-be
    A healthy baby starts with a healthy mother, however half of American women enter pregnancy either obese or overweight and nearly half gain more weight during pregnancy than is recommended.
  • Nurturing, responsive care and feeding of babies and toddlers  
    Less than half of mothers receive any paid time off to care for their newborn. Paid parental leave can reduce infant mortality and illness, increase the likelihood of timely pediatric care, improve breastfeeding practices, and reduce the likelihood of maternal depression which impacts mothers’ ability to nourish and nurture their children.
  • Consistent access to enough nutritious food for families
    Nearly 1 in 5 children under the age of 6 live in families that struggle to put enough nutritious food on the table. Family food insecurity negatively impacts young children’s development, even when the children themselves have enough to eat. Household food insecurity also makes it harder for mothers to maintain healthy diets and healthy weights.

A full list of the building blocks and a snapshot of how the U.S. is faring is available here: http://thousanddays.org/tdays-content/uploads/StandaloneCharts-2_Scorecard-Logo.pdf

The full list of recommendations can be found here:
http://thousanddays.org/tdays-content/uploads/StandaloneCharts-3_Wins-Logo.pdf

To read and download the full report, visit:
http://thousanddays.org/resource/nourishing-americas-future

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About 1,000 Days  
1,000 Days is the leading non-profit advocacy organization working in the U.S. and around the world to improve nutrition, particularly during the 1,000 day window between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s 2nd birthday, when the right nutrition has a life-changing impact on a child’s future. 1,000 Days promotes greater action and investment in nutrition in order to build a strong foundation for children, their families and their nations to thrive. To learn more visit www.thousanddays.org.

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