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World News

Christian charity urges governments to prevent malnutrition

by Hannah Tooley

World Vision is urging the international community to use the Olympic Games as an opportunity for world leaders, businesses, scientific and civil society groups to find new solutions as they come together to celebrate sport.

The charity is urging discussions ahead of the Nutrition for Growth Summit (N4G) which begins on Thursday.

World Vision

Peter Keegan, Government Relations Manager at World Vision UK, said: "This race is a marathon that needs to be run at a sprinter's pace. Currently, 159 million children are so malnourished by the age of two that their minds and bodies will never fully develop; and 50 million remain at risk of death from the most acute form of malnutrition.

"World leaders, donors, businesses, scientific and civil society groups meeting in Rio tomorrow need to use the N4G event to build toward the next phase of the marathon to end malnutrition, and specifically to lay the foundation for a major pledging summit in 2017."
 
Since 2010 the UK government has been a global leader on nutrition and in 2015 the UK promised to help address malnutrition through its commitment to improve the nutrition of 50 million people by 2020.

Peter Keegan continued: "The UK government should seize the opportunity in Rio to build political momentum.

"It should press the EU and encourage other governments, donors and businesses to invest more in nutrition specific interventions.

"These can include promoting breast-feeding and other healthy child feeding, fortifying food and supplementing poor diets and changing poor nutritional practices."

World Vision

Less than 1% of global development money is spent on specific interventions to tackle poor nutrition - meeting just 1.4% of total needs.

World Vision has stressed intervention before the first three years of a child's life, it says it is vital to invest in proper nutrition for a child's first 1,000 days.

Intervention can reduce child deaths, improve learning, and increase overall productivity as adults.

Carolyn MacDonald, a World Vision nutrition expert said: "For every $1 invested in proven nutrition programming, $16 of benefits are returned."

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