Giving Children the Best Start in Life: Integrating Nutrition and Early Childhood Development Programming within the First 1,000 Days

 Valerie Caldas, Photoshare

Adequate nutrition is critical to a child’s optimal development, particularly during the first 1,000 days (pregnancy through the child’s second birthday), a period of rapid growth where nutrient deficiencies can have long-term consequences. Recent evidence suggests that integrated nutrition and early childhood development programs can help improve both child development and nutrition outcomes, laying the best foundation for children to achieve their full potential as adults.

However, most programs do not yet effectively integrate early childhood development interventions within nutrition and health services targeting children under 2, resulting in a missed opportunity. This technical note explores the interaction between nutrition and early childhood development during the 1,000 days, examines how programs are integrating the two areas, and outlines the potential impact that integrated programs can have on improving a child’s growth and development.

USAID logo