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.

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

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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