South Sudan malnutrition Albert Gonzalez Farran/Getty Images

A Development Investment for the Ages

Malnutrition receives less attention than most of the world’s other major challenges, yet it is one area where a relatively small investment can make the biggest difference. As both a cause and an effect of poverty, malnutrition it part of a cruel cycle that can last for generations on end.

PRAGUE – Malnutrition receives less attention than most of the world’s other major challenges. Yet it is one area where a relatively small investment can have the most powerful impact.

An estimated two billion people do not receive the essential vitamins and minerals they need to grow and thrive – notably, iron, iodine, vitamin A, and zinc. Worse, malnutrition and undernutrition are part of a cruel cycle, in that they are both causes and effects of poverty.

This cycle disproportionately affects infants and young children, who suffer devastating consequences from malnutrition, including mental impairment, difficulty learning in school, and poor health generally. Even moderate nutritional deficiencies can hinder a child’s development. And because it is harder for that child to get a good job when he or she grows up, malnutrition shapes not just his or her life, but also the lives of the next generation.

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