Policy Brief

Investing in Nutrition: The Foundation for Development

Shekar M
Kakietek J
D'Alimonte M
Sullivan L
Walters D
Rogers H
Dayton Eberwein J
Soe-Lin S
Hecht R
R4D: Results for Development
Publication Year:
May 04, 2020
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-Being


Every year, malnutrition claims the lives of 3 million children under age five and costs the global economy billions of dollars in lost productivity and health care costs. Yet those losses are almost entirely preventable. A large body of scientific evidence shows that improving nutrition during the critical 1,000 day window from a woman’s pregnancy to her child’s second birthday has the potential to save lives, help millions of children develop fully and thrive, and deliver greater economic prosperity.


There is an urgent need for global action on nutrition. In 2012, the 194 member states of the World Health Assembly (WHA) endorsed the first ever global targets to improve nutrition focusing on six areas: stunting, exclusive breastfeeding, wasting, anemia, low birth weight, and overweight. And while some of the targets were enshrined within Sustainable Development Goal 2, which commits to end malnutrition in all its forms by the year 2030, the world is not on track to achieve any of the six nutrition targets.


Accelerating progress against malnutrition will require investment in both proven nutrition interventions and research to understand how to bring promising solutions to scale in a cost-effective manner. To inform the action needed, the World Bank, Results for Development Institute (R4D), and 1,000 Days, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) conducted an in-depth costing analysis and developed an investment framework for achieving four of the six global nutrition targets This brief summarizes the analysis of the costs, impacts, and investments needed to achieve the targets and how governments, donors, the private sector, foundations, and others can come together to finance these at scale.





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