Investing in Nutrition: The Foundation for Development

Investing in Nutrition: The Foundation for Development
World Bank, Results for Development Institute, and 1,000 Days – with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation
April 2016 :: 8 pages

Every year, malnutrition claims the lives of 3 million children under age five and costs the global economy billions of dollars in lost productivity and health care costs. Yet those losses are almost entirely preventable. A large body of scientific evidence shows that improving nutrition
during the critical 1,000 day window from a woman’s pregnancy to her child’s second birthday has the potential to save lives, help millions of children develop fully and thrive, and deliver greater economic prosperity.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

There is an urgent need for global action on nutrition. In 2012, the 194 member states of the World Health Assembly (WHA) endorsed the first-ever global targets to improve nutrition focusing on six areas: stunting, exclusive breastfeeding, wasting, anemia, low birth weight, and overweight. And while some
of the targets were enshrined within Sustainable Development Goal 2, which commits to end malnutrition in all its forms by the year 2030, the world is not on track to achieve any of the six nutrition targets.

Accelerating progress against malnutrition will require investment in both proven nutrition interventions and research to understand how to bring promising solutions to scale in a cost-effective manner.7…

…This brief summarizes the analysis of the costs, impacts, and investments needed to achieve the targets and how governments, donors, the private sector, foundations, and others can come together to finance these at scale.

Key Messages
.1 Global action is urgently needed to tackle the pervasive problem of malnutrition.

.2 Reaching the targets to reduce stunting among children and anemia in women, increase exclusive breastfeeding rates, and mitigate the impact of wasting will require an average annual investment of $7 billion over the next 10 years. This is in addition to the $3.9 billion the world currently spends on nutrition annually.

.3 To catalyze progress toward the global nutrition targets, priority should be given to a set of the most cost-effective actions which can be scaled up immediately. Financing this more limited set of actions will require an additional annual investment of just over $2 billion for the next 10 years. The majority of this annual investment would come from country governments and donors, $1.4 billion and $650 million, respectively, while innovative financing mechanisms and
households fund the remaining gap.

.4 When combined with other health and poverty reduction efforts, this priority investment can yield significant returns: an estimated 2.2 million lives can be saved and there will be 50 million fewer cases of stunting in 2025 compared to in 2015.

.5 Achieving the targets is within reach if all partners work together to immediately step up in investments in nutrition


Global Leaders Launch First-Ever Investment Framework for Nutrition and Call for Immediate Action
April 18, 2016
Additional nutrition investment of $2.2 billion/year over 10 years could save 2.2 million lives and reduce the number of stunted children by 50 million
… “An investment in nutrition can help make every other investment in health and development pay off,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and keynote speaker at the event. “And while progress is possible, it is not inevitable. With the release of today’s analysis by the World Bank and Results for Development, we know there are proven, cost-effective tools to combat malnutrition – such as food fortification and breastfeeding. Investments in these interventions will help ensure millions more children globally have the opportunity to survive and thrive.”

Malnutrition is the underlying cause in nearly half of deaths of children under age five every year. In addition, millions more women and children bear the burden of poor health caused by malnutrition and the global economy loses billions of dollars due to lost productivity and health care costs. Yet these losses are almost entirely preventable. Investing in nutrition gives children the foundation for a healthy, productive life and establishes a foundation for sustainable global progress in health and development. The 2015 Global Nutrition Report indicates that every $1 of investment in nutrition yields $16 in benefits across health and productivity.

“The unconscionably high rates of childhood stunting in middle- and low-income countries—30 and 45 percent – are a damning indictment on us all,” said Jim Yong Kim, President, the World Bank Group. “Stunted growth has life-long consequences not only for the individual, but for countries as well, in an increasingly digitalized and service-oriented economy. Equal opportunity for all is an empty slogan if we don’t address this issue.”…