Hunger is the largest single contributor to child mortality worldwide and is responsible for nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five. Our world has enough food for everyone – no child should die because they can’t get enough to eat. Yet millions are born into hunger and ultimately it’s why they die. We're fighting to end this scandal.
Malnutrition leaves millions more with lifelong physical and mental impairments. This is tragic and unacceptable as there are proven low cost solutions that can end this crisis.
Except for the most severe cases of hunger, it is difficult to immediately see malnutrition as it is happening and the consequences. This is one reason why malnutrition is referred to as a silent crisis.
The period from the start of a mother’s pregnancy to her child’s second birthday is a critical window of opportunity when a child’s brain and body are developing rapidly and good nutrition is essential to lay the foundation for a healthy and productive future.
If children do not get the right food, nutrients and care through this period, the damage is often irreversible. Worldwide, more than 165 million children are classified as being stunted, or have the condition of chronic long-term malnutrition.
Global experts and Save the Children have highlighted a set of low-cost nutrition interventions with the greatest potential to save lives of children and prevent malnutrition in a child’s first 1,000 days.
The life-saving actions include:
- improving the diets and nutrients of mothers before and in pregnancy,
- breastfeeding of infants and young children,
- feeding young children aged 6 to 24 months a variety of nutritious complementary foods,
- providing vitamin A and zinc to children,
- the timely identification and treatment of acute malnutrition and other serious childhood illnesses like diarrhea and hygiene practices.
Tragically, more than half of the world’s children do not have access to these low-cost proven lifesaving nutrition actions.
What we're doing to reduce hunger
We are making a major difference on the ground. We work in partnerships with national governments, local organisations and others to support high quality health, nutrition and agriculture programming throughout the developing world.
As part of this, we train and support frontline health workers who promote breastfeeding, advice families how to improve diets, distribute vitamins and other micronutrients and treat childhood diseases. We also manage large food security programs with a focus on child nutrition in 10 countries. Working together, we have saved millions of children’s lives.
We're encouraging action by mobilizing people around the world to support quality programmes to reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality and make sure governments commit and fund these life-saving interventions.
In recent years Save the Children along with hundreds of thousands of supporters stepped up our campaign against hunger in the UK. In 2012 our Race Against Hunger campaign helped persuade Prime Minister David Cameron to hold a special hunger summit on the last day of the London Olympics with other world leaders.
The event saw India announce a doubling of its budget to improve the nutrition and health of 100 million children and women. The EU committed to reducing the number of stunted children by 7 million, and UK multinationals Unilever and GSK agreed to work ways of making affordable nutritious food available to poor families.
In 2013 together with more than 100 other charities we created the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign. Supporters emailed MPs, signed and shared petitions, created craft pieces, dressed up as Chancellor George Osborne and came in their thousands to the Big IF London rally in Hyde Park. All this hard work resulted in millions of children’s lives saved.
How you can help reduce hunger
We'll keep pushing world governments and others to tackle the scourge of hunger.
As the same time our world class programmes are helping give children the food they need to survive and grow into healthy adults.
Together we can give children a life free from hunger.