8 March 2013

This Mother's Day we're releasing a special new report, about the vital role mothers around the world play in preventing child malnutrition. 

The report, The right ingredients: the need to invest in child nutrition underlines the importance of the first 1,000 days – from conception to second birthday – in every child’s development. 

These 1,000 days are critical for every child. If a child gets the nutrients they need during this period, only then can their brain develop properly, allowing them to thrive at school and fulfil their potential in life.

The report highlights the fact that preventing malnutrition in a child begins with the mother. The health of the mother is critical to the future health of her child as a child’s development inside the womb is affected if their mother is malnourished. 

Breastfeeding within the first hour can also provide life-saving nutrients to a child, the report says.

The report also emphasises the need for the UK Government to keep its promise to spend 0.7% of national income on life-saving aid, in order to increase the impact of nutrition work in the poorest countries.

"Every child has the right to nutritious food to help them survive and reach their full potential," said David Bull, UNICEF UK Executive Director.

"This Mother’s day we celebrate the importance of mothers in tackling nutrition and ask the Government to commit to a lead role in ending child malnutrition."

In Mali, Sayon holds her eight-month-old son Samba, who was treated for severe malnutrition. © UNICEF/MALI2012-01168
In Mali, Sayon holds her eight-month-old son Samba, who was treated for severe malnutrition.© UNICEF/MALI2012-01168