Around the world, undernutrition contributes to 45% of deaths in children under 5 years old and increases the risk of infection, impaired growth and development, and noncommunicable diseases. Optimal breastfeeding and complementary feeding lay the foundation for improving nutrition. Despite the enormous benefits of breastfeeding, less than half of infants are breastfed as recommended and even fewer are fed adequate nutritious foods when they need it most.
FHI 360 works to combat malnutrition by providing technical assistance for governments and local partners to scale up high-impact infant and young child nutrition interventions, including early initiation of breastfeeding; exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months; introduction of diverse, nutrient-dense foods at 6 months old with continued breastfeeding; and micronutrient supplementation. We also recognize the mother-infant dyad and powerful 1,000-day window of opportunity, which includes supporting pregnant women with nutrition counseling and other services before and after the baby is born.
For more than two decades, FHI 360 and its subsidiaries have been at the forefront of work to improve infant and young child nutrition. Among other achievements, our 1,000 Days initiative played a central role in elevating the science that ultimately became an organizing agenda for development organizations, drawing global attention to the role of nutrition in the first 1,000 days, from pregnancy through a child’s second birthday. Our Alive & Thrive initiative has contributed to groundbreaking work in social and behavior change, development and enforcement of breastfeeding policies, and delivery of infant and young child nutrition services as part of prenatal and newborn care. Our Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance III (FANTA) project played a central role in the development of infant and young child feeding indicators and assessment tools that are now widely used. FANTA also supported the development of infant and child nutrition policies and guidelines in more than 20 countries.
The promotion of optimal infant and young child nutrition is a cornerstone of our nutrition work at the global and country levels, in development or emergency contexts.