A Virtuous Cycle

The Issue

Malnutrition traps families, communities and countries in a tragic, timeless story. Through better nutrition we can turn this vicious cycle into a virtuous one.

Previous
Next

Underweight babies are far more likely to die in childbirth or suffer from chronic diseases like stunting, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

A vital window

During the first 1,000 days of our lives, nutrition plays a critical role in how our brains develop.

At the 4th week of pregnancy, the brain has an estimated 10,000 cells. By six months, it contains 10 billion. Nutrition is the driving force.

35% of brain development occurs in the 2-3 weeks after birth, with 80% of a child's brain developed by the age of 2.

By the time a child is 5, powering their brain requires half of the calories they eat.

The Opportunity

To maximize the potential of the next generation — the leaders, the changemakers, the pioneers of tomorrow — we must invest in the nutrition that mothers and children need. 

Fortunately, so much of what we need to break this vicious cycle and turn it into a virtuous one is simple.

Investing in Prenatal Vitamins

Investing in prenatal vitamins, inexpensive supplements that women take during pregnancy, has been associated with an increase of nearly 2.3 million school years for the next generation.

Breastfeeding

Investing in breastfeeding programs is key: we know that breastfed children perform better on IQ tests and are less likely to be overweight or develop issues like diabetes later in life.

Investing in prenatal vitamins, inexpensive supplements that women take during pregnancy, has been associated with an increase of nearly 2.3 million school years for the next generation.

Investing in breastfeeding programs is key: we know that breastfed children perform better on IQ tests and are less likely to be overweight or develop issues like diabetes later in life.

Investments in these simple, evidence-based solutions give future generations a new narrative for their lives — a story of real hope to tackle the challenges of today and the untold storms of tomorrow.

Learn more about how we can end the cycle.

Photo Captions

Image 1 – ©UNICEF/Akash
Image 2 – ©UNICEF/Nazer
Image 3 – ©UNICEF/Raab
Image 4 – ©UNICEF/Malawi