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Changing the future in 1,000 days

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The first 1,000 days between conception and a child’s 2nd birthday are critical for shaping each child’s development. This is the period when the foundations of good health, growth, and neurodevelopment are set.

Good nutrition during this time has a profound impact on how a child grows, learns and thrives.

The human brain develops and changes throughout life, but the most rapid period of brain growth is the last 3 months of pregnancy and the first two years of life. At least 50 brain chemicals or neurotransmitters are affected by the intake of food and micronutrients during this first 1,000 days. Although the brain requires all nutrients for growth, certain nutrients, such as protein, fatty acids, iron, zinc, copper, iodine, choline, folate and vitamins A, B6, and B12 are especially important.

Under-nutrition – not getting enough nutrients like protein and minerals and vitamins – during pregnancy affects fetal growth and leads to stunting. There are other consequences too, such as obesity and nutrition-related diseases that show up in adulthood. Inadequate nutrition during this golden period is irreversible, with effects far beyond physical health, because the child’s cognitive development is also impaired.

Good health and reduced disease for both mothers and their children has a powerful, enduring effect on a country’s prosperity.

Nutrition is linked – for better and for worse – to future economic development. A well-nourished child is a healthy child who is more alert, learns better in school because the brain is developed and the child finds it easier to concentrate. Parents are relieved of the burden of caring for a sick child (as well as the cost). The child grows up to be a contributor to society, a key link in the chain of development.

This is not about developing countries alone. With its high population of overweight children, developed countries like the USA also have a serious nutrition problem, which was triggered during the first 1,000 days of life.

New understanding of brain development and the links between early childhood nutrition, health and economic prosperity, are showing that investments in good nutrition – and nutrition education – during the first 1,000-days of life are some of the best investments that can be made to improve health… and a better future for individuals and society at large.

Insta-Pro is experienced in processing cereal flours fortified with protein, vitamins and minerals, that serve as complementary foods for breastfed children from 6 months of age. If you would like to learn more about producing these highly-nutritious porridges, please contact us.