Why 1,000 Days

The 1,000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s 2nd birthday offer a unique window of opportunity to shape healthier and more prosperous futures. The right nutrition during this 1,000 day window can have a profound impact on a child’s ability to grow, learn, and rise out of poverty. It can also shape a society’s long-term health, stability and prosperity.

Today, undernutrition is still a leading cause of death of young children throughout the world. For infants and children under the age of two, the consequences of undernutrition are particularly severe, often irreversible, and reach far into the future.

  • During pregnancy, undernutrition can have a devastating impact on the healthy growth and development of a child. Babies who are malnourished in the womb have a higher risk of dying in infancy and are more likely to face lifelong cognitive and physical deficits and chronic health problems.
  • For children under the age of two, undernutrition can be life-threatening. It can weaken a child’s immune system and make him or her more susceptible to dying from common illnesses such as pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria.

In 1,000 days, you can change the future

By focusing on improving nutrition for mothers and children in the 1,000 day window, we can help ensure a child can live a healthy and productive life. Investing in better nutrition in the 1,000 day window can also help families, communities and countries break the cycle of poverty.

Evidence shows that the right nutrition during the 1,000 day window can:

  • save more than one million lives each year;
  • significantly reduce the human and economic burden of diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS;
  • reduce the risk for developing various non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, and other chronic conditions later in life;
  • improve an individual’s educational achievement and earning potential; and,
  • increase a country’s GDP by at least 2-3 percent annually.

As a result, leading scientists, economists and health experts agree that improving nutrition during the critical 1,000 day window is one of the best investments we can make to achieve lasting progress in global health and development.

Solutions that make a difference

Solutions to improve nutrition in the 1,000 day window are readily available, affordable and cost-effective. They include:

  1. Ensuring that mothers and young children get the necessary vitamins and minerals they need;
  2. Promoting good nutritional practices, including breastfeeding and appropriate, healthy foods for infants; and
  3. Treating malnourished children with special, therapeutic foods.