News Archive

October 3, 2009 - The Lancet
"Nutrition in early life: a global priority"

Cesar G. Victora (in Volume 374, Issue 9696), makes the case that the “promotion of good nutrition in early life is essential for health later in life because either undernutrition or overnutrition can cause lifelong, irreversible damage.”  The first World Health Summit will take place in Berlin on Oct. 14-18, and Victora argues that during this meeting governments should explore ways to fund early nutrition programs just as vigorously as they fund programs to combat other diseases. 

The article notes that preventing undernutrition in utero and during the first 2 years of life will help adults “become taller, stronger, and more intelligent, thus improving school achievement, economic productivity, and earnings.” He specifically mentions community-based interventions, such as promoting breastfeeding and complementary foods, which are part of the essential nutrition actions framework, the underpinning of Helen Keller International’s nutrition programs.