By nourishing hungry children today, we are helping the next generation of the world’s inhabitants to meet whatever challenges they face. Copyright: WFP/Rein Skullerud
In the first part of our series of features on Hunger, we established that this issue is the World’s Greatest Solvable Problem and listed six strategies that WFP is already using to solve it. In part two, we look at why solving hunger is critical for the next generation of the world's inhabitants.
ROME – Wherever you look in the field of development, hunger is a central issue. With hunger, medicines are less effective, students can’t learn, adults aren’t as productive.
In fact, the world can only make progress on development issues such as health and education when it tackles hunger and poor nutrition.
Building Brains and Bodies
At WFP, we help build the brains and bodies of the next generation through our School Meals and our Mother and Child Health and Nutrition programmes.
This is Molly. Thanks to WFP, she has meals every day at her school in Nairobi, Kenya. Find out more
This is Sadak. Thanks to WFP’s help, he was able to avoid malnutrition during last year’s famine in Somalia. Find out more
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).
Hunger Price Tags
Did you know...
• It costs US$10 to feed a boy in a Kenya refugee camp for 3 weeks, less than the cost of a lipstick in Manhattan.
• It would cost US$3.5 billion to feed every hungry schoolchild in the world. That’s around two times the takings from the movie, “Titanic”, which grossed US$1.8 billion worldwide.
• It costs US$50 to feed a schoolgirl for one year; similar to the cost of one iPod shuffle (US$45)
• One super-healthy ration of Plumpy’Sup for a small child is just 20 cents, less than a US postage stamp (44 cents).