Good nutrition is essential for survival, physical growth, mental development, performance, productivity, health and well-being across the entire life-span: from the earliest stages of fetal development, at birth, and through infancy, childhood, adolescence and on into adulthood. Poor nutrition in the first 1,000 days of children’s lives can have irreversible consequences. For millions of children, it means they are, forever, stunted.
Every infant and child has the right to good nutrition according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child; so the World Health Assembly has adopted a new target of reducing the number of stunted children under the age of 5 by 40 percent by 2025. The first 2 years of a child’s life are particularly important, as optimal nutrition during this period lowers morbidity and mortality, reduces the risk of chronic disease, and fosters better development overall. Breastfeeding and complementary feeding are a critical aspect of caring for infants and young children.