Too many children don’t have the food they need
Every minute of every day, more than 5 children die as a result of malnutrition, according to estimates. And millions more live with physical disabilities and learning difficulties – the lifetime effects of not having the food they need to live and grow.
The start of a child’s life is a critical time. Without enough of the nutrients they need at this vital time, children’s bodies and brains don’t develop the way they should. They’re less able to grow, learn and play an active role in their communities. They’re also less resilient in the face of disease, disasters, and other global crises.
Emergency food saves lives
Unicef provides 80% of the world’s life-saving emergency food, for children suffering from the most severe malnutrition. This nutritious, high-energy peanut paste literally saves lives.
How we help prevent malnutrition
Our specialist teams right around the world help families and communities keep their children healthy and well-nourished for the long term. Unicef staff support families through education, special supplements, breastfeeding support – and make sure mums have enough of the right things to eat too.
Yassa is a community health volunteer in Liberia, West Africa. She joined the local health care team after her own daughter, Watta, became malnourished. With support from Unicef, started learning about the importance of a varied and nutritious diet.
Today, Yassa runs cooking demonstrations for other mothers, where she passes on her knowledge of the right kind of nutrition for children, as well as basic hygiene and care.
Long ago, we didn't know what was best for our children, but now I do and I'll tell everyone and they'll pass it on too.
If we keep doing this then every baby's mother will know what's best, and then all the children in Liberia will grow up strong and clever.
Yassa, community health worker, Liberia
Hunger or malnutrition?
What Yassa teaches mums is that malnutrition is not the same as hunger. Children might be getting enough food to sustain them and make them feel full, but without the right nutrients in that food, they won’t be able to grow and reach their full potential.
If a child receives the right nutrition and care at the start of their lives, they’ll grow up healthy and strong – and there’s no limit to what they can become.
Globally, every pound spent fighting child malnutrition delivers £16 worth of social, economic and environmental benefits in the future.