Proper nutrition is a powerful good: people who are well-fed are generally healthy. Healthy women can lead more fulfilling lives; healthy children learn more in school and out. Good nutrition benefits families, their communities and the world as a whole.
Malnutrition is, by the same logic, devastating. It plays a part in more than half of all child deaths worldwide. It perpetuates poverty. Malnutrition blunts the intellect and saps the productivity of everyone it touches.
The quality of both food and feeding play important roles in health outcomes. A family’s nutritional security depends not only on wholesome food, but also on food storage, preparation and feeding, micronutrients, basic health services, safe water and sanitation, and good hygiene. For infants and young children, nutritional security also means immediate skin-to-skin proceeding to breastfeeding at birth, exclusive breastfeeding from birth to six months, and continued breastfeeding for two years or longer with age-appropriate complementary feeding to sustain growth and development.
UNICEF has worked from its founding to help see that every child’s right to adequate nutrition is fulfilled. It helps children grow and thrive as individuals. Proper nutrition helps give every child the best start in life.
UNICEF addressed this need through support for breastfeeding and infant and young child feeding, micronutrients, and food security and emergency response.