1 in 4 children in Beposo, Ghana are stunted due to chronic malnutrition by the time they start school. We can change that by targeting nutrition in the first 1000 days. By offering expectant mothers nutrition counseling and food supplements during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as well as a means of growing nutrient-dense foods to better nourish themselves and their newborns long term, no more children will be stunted by the time they start school, so they can focus on learning, not hunger pains!
In the Beposo school feeding program, 1 in 4 students' growth is already stunted by the time they start school. The children are not only short in stature, but stunting affects their ability to learn and long-term productivity for the rest of their lives that cannot be overcome by better feeding later in childhood or adulthood. Chronic malnutrition is best tackled in the first 1000 days, before school age. It is a problem with a solution, and the faster we act, the more lives we can change!
We'll teach mothers how to nourish themselves and their weaning babies through group nutrition classes and one-on-one counseling, and give mothers who are food insecure food supplements so they can produce enough breast milk to feed their nursing babies. Community leaders have agreed to donate land to create a community demonstration plot where we can teach them to cultivate nutrient-dense foods using improved ag methods so the entire community can grow and eat more nutritious food long term.
If we can ensure that 100% of two-year-olds in this village reach at least the 25th percentile of height-for-age, then we have preserved IQ points and ensured adequate brain development for the child to meet his or her genetic potential. Similar interventions in Ghana that combine nutrition education and means of growing nutrient-dense foods have found that this intensive support for a mother with one child will improve health for all her future children, even after the intervention has ended.