Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition

Nutrition is critical to human development. It has lasting effects on overall health, immunity, cognitive development and physical wellbeing. For that reason, CARE’s Nutrition team puts nutrition at the center of all our integrated programs.

Maternal and child undernutrition among people living in poverty is particularly detrimental to health and well-being. Globally, undernutrition accounts for 11 percent of the disease burden and at least 3.5 million deaths in children under 5 years of age annually. The breadth and depth of the problem has spurred CARE to identify nutrition as a prime entry point to ending poverty and a milestone to achieving better quality of life. CARE’s efforts in nutrition are delivering concrete results in the lives of people living in extreme poverty. CARE works to reduce maternal and child mortality and morbidity by increasing accessibility, improving quality of health systems and promoting appropriate changes in behavior at the community level thus building a support system for optimal infant and young child feeding in resource poor environments. Programming includes collaboration with multiple community players, including village level administration, civil society groups, community based institutions and religious leaders. CARE’s guiding program principles for infant and young child nutrition are adapted from WHO/Basics Essential Nutrition Actions and include:

  • Immediate breastfeeding

  • Exclusive Breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life

  • Continued breastfeeding after 6 months

  • Optimal complementary feeding beginning at 6 months

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