March 3, 2016

Recommended Reading

The First 1,000 Days highlights the multi-dimensional nature of child nutrition—everything from food access, water and sanitation, government policy, violence, to poverty can impact a child’s ability to reach his or her potential. Check out these recent developments that are influencing early child growth and development, and remember to preorder your copy of The First 1,000 Days.
In Guatemala, Shifts in Health Care Strand Communities, Colleen Kimmett, Al Jazeera
The public health system in Guatemala has never been adequate, but in the past two years, under four successive administrations, the situation has gotten worse. In 2014, the Ministry of Health terminated contracts with more than 80 NGOs that had been providing health services to 2.4 million people across the country. Despite having one of the highest GDPs in the Americas, Guatemala spends only about 2.6 percent of that on healthcare. Almost half of children under five are stunted due to chronic malnutrition, and Guatemala has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the Americas.
More Rural Hospitals Are Closing Their Maternity Units, Michelle Andrews, NPR
Each year, about 500,000 women in the United States give birth in rural hospitals, yet easy access to labor and delivery units has been declining. Though comprehensive figures are spotty, a recent analysis of 306 rural hospitals in nine states with large rural populations found that 7.2 percent closed their obstetrics units between 2010 and 2014. There are many factors that contribute to the decline in rural hospital obstetrics services. For one thing, obstetrics units are expensive to operate, and a small rural hospital may deliver fewer than 100 babies a year. However, there are a number of initiatives that could help bolster labor and delivery services in rural areas.
The Extinction Inside Our Guts, Erica and Justin Sonnenburg, LA Times
Humans are composite organisms—ecosystems made up of human cells together with about 3 pounds of bacteria, our forgotten organ. The complex carbohydrates found in fiber are what feed your gut bacteria. Eat a diet rich in fiber and the richness of your microbiome will increase. Conversely, if your diet is poor in fiber, you are starving your microbial self. Even more upsetting: You may also be starving your children's microbiomes. Much of our microbiota is, in a way, inherited from our mothers as we pass through the birth canal. If a mother's microbiota is missing species, it follows that her child's microbiota is also at risk of missing species. Our gut ecosystem is malleable, able to adjust to impulsive dietary choices. However, it appears that this ecosystem is also fragile and that dietary decisions made by one generation could affect the microbial ecosystem that future generations carry around inside them.
More Community Health Workers Needed for a Healthier World, Katie Taylor, USAID Impact Blog
In 1960, more than 22 percent of all children in developing countries—one out of every five—died before the age of 5. Today, we are within reach of ending preventable child deaths. Enter community health workers. For years, they have been vital in strengthening maternal and child health, preventing the spread of infectious diseases, and promoting sanitary behaviors. They will play a critical role in helping us achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
A Hidden Cost to Giving Kids Their Vegetables, Caitlin Daniel, New York Times
Finicky eating can frustrate any parent. But pickiness has particular effects on the poor. Most children treat new foods with trepidation. Often, they accept novel offerings only after 8 to 15 attempts.  Poor parents not only have to calculate how much their food costs, they must also consider what happens if no one eats it. To avoid risking waste, these parents fall back on their children’s preferences.


| By Roger Thurow

A Wondrous Journey

Cruising down I-80 in the summer is one of the most wondrous, and paradoxical, drives in the country.

| By Roger Thurow

1,000 Days and Migrant Stress

The first 1,000 days of a child's life is a critical time for development, where nutrition--and stability--lay the foundation for a lifetime. 

| By Roger Thurow

Outrage and Inspire with Roger Thurow - Am I About to Lose My Second Child, Too?

The latest podcast in our ongoing series with Roger Thurow. Hear how even the best nutrition projects can be undermined by bad water, poor sanitation and hygiene, and lousy infrastructure.  From northern Uganda, we hear a mother’s agony when her healthy, robust child suddenly falls ill after a few sips of water…unclean water, it turned out.

Roger Thurow on SDG 2.2

Roger Thurow sat down with Farming First to talk about the individual and societal consequences of malnutrition. 




Digital Preview of The First 1,000 Days

In his new book, The First 1,000 Days, Council senior fellow Roger Thurow illuminates the 1,000 Days initiative to end early childhood malnutrition through the compelling stories of new mothers in Uganda, India, Guatemala, and Chicago. Get a first-look at photos and stories from the book in this new web interactive.

» Learn more.
» Order your copy of the book.


The First 1,000 Days

Roger Thurow’s book will tell the story of the vital importance of proper nutrition and health care in the 1,000 days window from the beginning of a woman’s pregnancy to her child’s second birthday.

The 1,000 days period is the crucial period of development, when malnutrition can have severe life-long impacts on the individual, the family and society as a whole. Nutritional deficiencies that occur during this time are often overlooked, resulting in a hidden hunger. It is a problem of great human and economic dimensions, impacting rich and poor countries alike.

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The Last Hunger Season

In The Last Hunger Season, the intimate dramas of the farmers' lives unfold amidst growing awareness that to feed the world's growing population, food production must double by 2050. How will the farmers, Africa, and a hungrier world deal with issues of water usage, land ownership, foreign investment, corruption, GMO's, the changing role of women, and the politics of foreign aid?

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Roger Thurow and Scott Kilman, award-winning writers on Africa, development, and agriculture, see famine as the result of bad policies spanning the political spectrum. In this compelling investigative narrative, they explain through vivid human stories how the agricultural revolutions that transformed Asia and Latin America stopped short in Africa, and how our sometimes well-intentioned strategies—alternating with ignorance and neglect—have conspired to keep the world’s poorest people hungry and unable to feed themselves.

Learn more »