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A Second Lancet Nutrition Series Identifies Elements of Effective Strategies
Five years ago, the well-respected British medical journal The Lancet published a groundbreaking series that focused global attention on maternal and child nutrition. A key finding was the critical importance of the “1,000 Days” between pregnancy and age 2, when proper nutrition establishes the foundation for lifelong health – but malnutrition causes physical and cognitive damage that is largely irreversible. “1,000 Days” quickly became part of the nutrition lexicon.
Today in London, The Lancet launches its follow-up to the 2008 Maternal and Child Nutrition series, a new resource for updated data and policy recommendations on global nutrition. On June 13, Bread for the World will co-host the U.S. launch of the series—another in a string of major nutrition events this month. These include the pledging event “Nutrition for Growth” in London on June 8 and Bread’s June 10 meeting co-hosted with Concern Worldwide, “Sustaining Political Commitments to Scaling Up Nutrition.” It is an exciting and busy time for everyone concerned about hunger, and there’s a great deal of optimism that these high-level events will keep malnutrition and hunger high on the global political agenda.
In the new five-paper Lancet series, both academics and practitioners who specialize in global health and development present new data on the prevalence of malnutrition, analyses of the efficacy and cost effectiveness of current interventions, and evaluations of nutrition policies now in effect. Based on this data, the series recommends policies designed to achieve more rapid and concerted progress on global malnutrition and hunger. The new Lancet series is expected to focus on what are called “nutrition-sensitive” or indirect policies and programs; the first series emphasized “nutrition-specific” or direct actions. Nutrition-sensitive actions can be part of nearly any development effort since they focus on the intersections and linkages of nutrition with other development goals—such as women’s empowerment, stronger educational systems, and faster progress on water, sanitation, and health (WASH) issues.
The release of the second Lancet series will
enable Bread for the World and other advocates to point to current, credible research in our efforts to educate
opinion leaders, policymakers, and the public about hunger and solutions to it.
The first Lancet series galvanized action on early childhood malnutrition; the
second promises to be a watershed in efforts to develop the most effective anti-hunger
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