The Issue

Malnutrition is a Child's Worst Enemy

Each year, global malnutrition is responsible for nearly half of all deaths of children under the age of five, claiming almost 3 million lives a year. At this staggering scale, malnutrition kills more children than malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS combined.

For those who survive, malnutrition plays an insidious role in undermining a child’s future.


The first 1,000 days, between the start of a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday, is a period of rapid cognitive development, with over 1 million new neural connections established every second.


Malnutrition during this period leads to irreversible impacts on cognitive and physical development.


Children who are undernourished during their first 1,000 days are likely to learn less at school and earn less as adults, which translates to slow economic growth and perpetuation of the cycle of poverty.

The scale of the problem is immense, but proven interventions to prevent and treat malnutrition are considered some of the most cost effective solutions in global health and development.

Every dollar spent on nutrition in the 1,000 day window can save an average of $45 per child and in some cases as much as $166 through increased economic productivity and decreased healthcare costs.

Learn More About Malnutrition

Malnutrition is a child’s worst enemy - but it doesn’t have to be. The Eleanor Crook Foundation is committed to the fight against global malnutrition for as long as it takes.

Countries Driving Impact on Maternal Nutrition: Stories from Nepal, Bangladesh, and Ethiopia

Eleanor Crook Foundation and Helen Keller Intl Join Forces with Senegal’s Ministry of Health to Combat Child Wasting

ECF Co-Hosts Panel on Food Security and Malnutrition at IDU Forum 2023

New Global Guidance on Wasting Treatment Means Greater Opportunities to Reach More Children in Need

A Review & Proposed Learning Agenda on Immunization Nutrition Integration

RUTF Inclusion in WHO Essential Medicines List: A Game Changer for Wasting Treatment

Why ECF and Gavi are joining forces to explore pairing nutritional supplement and vaccine delivery to save more lives

ECF Recipient of Open Philanthropy Regranting Challenge Award

$280 Million in Additional Historic Pledges Announced to Tackle Child Wasting

World Breastfeeding Week 2022: Closing the Gap on Breastfeeding Counseling Coverage

USAID Announces $200 Million Commitment to Tackle Child Wasting, the Largest Single Investment in Malnutrition Treatment in History

ECF Supports Journalists to Increase Visibility on Global Malnutrition

Eleanor Crook Honored for 25 Years of Fighting Against Malnutrition

It’s Time for the Global Nutrition Sector to Finally Act

Insights on successfully designing for scale from scaling expert, Larry Cooley

Scaling Series: What does it take to achieve scale and why hasn’t it happened yet in the nutrition sector?

Photo Captions

Header Image – UNICEF/Kayibanda
Image 1 – © UNICEF/ACF-Services
Image 2 – © UNICEF/Pirozzi