Nutrition in Global Health Programs

$125 million*

Minimum Requirement for American Leadership

Nutrition during the 1,000 days between pregnancy and a child’s second birthday is the most critical building block for a child’s health and future well-being. Malnutrition is linked to nearly half of all child deaths.

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Justification for Funding

  • The impact of nutrition investments is expansive: for every $1 that is spent, up to $35 is returned through decreased healthcare costs and improved economic productivity.
  • When a child does survive, chronic childhood malnutrition puts him or her at risk of stunted physical and mental development with irreversible consequences later in life. This account plays a central role in targeting interventions during the 1,000 day window.
  • Nutrition deficits have life long impacts on well being and the economy. On average, stunted children complete fewer years of education and perform less well in school than their well-nourished counterparts, reducing their income-earning capacity as adults.
  • We have seen that nutrition interventions make a difference. Children who get the right nutrition in their first 1,000 days are ten times more likely to overcome life-threatening childhood diseases. Between 2009 and 2016, stunting within USAID’s 19 nutrition priority countries decreased from 40 percent to 34 percent. More than 27 million children under 5 were reached by nutrition interventions in 2016 alone.

Cost of Cuts Below $125 Million

President and Congress Budget Comparison

       Congressional Budget   

       President's Budget Request (Base + OCO)

  • A 40% cut to nutrition funding, as proposed by the Administration’s fiscal year 2019 budget, would result in 11 million children not being reached with vital nutrition interventions.
  • The long-term economic growth and ability of low-income countries to emerge from poverty and crisis will be limited if the nutrition of future generations is not a priority.
  • In order to reach globally agreed nutrition targets by 2025 for stunting, wasting, breastfeeding, and anemia, an additional $70 billion of global investment is required.


$250 million

Opportunity to Catalyze American Leadership


Justification for Additional Funding

Impact of Additional Funding

$70 billion is the additional amount of money the world needs to invest by 2025 in order to reach globally agreed nutrition targets.

  • This additional funding would accelerate progress toward meeting global targets on stunting, breastfeeding, anemia, and wasting and would contribute to the realization of other U.S. development assistance objectives such as resilience and economic growth.
  • Priority could be given to cost-effective breastfeeding and anemia interventions, both of which are ready to be scaled up immediately and for which the U.S. has a strong platform for delivery.
  • The total need for these two targets is fairly low. According to internal calculations, an increased U.S. investment of $125 million will meet a third of the annual global need (fair share) at fairly low costs: $9 per case of anemia each year, and $4.70 per newborn.
  • Breastfeeding boosts a child’s immune system, protects from diseases, and increases cognitive ability. Scaling up breastfeeding could save over 800,000 lives per year. The global cost of lower cognitive ability associated with not breastfeeding is $300 billion each year.
  • Anemia impairs women’s health and economic productivity, while contributing to maternal death and serious health consequences for infants.
  • This funding could also be used to improve the accessibility of treatment for acute malnutrition.

*Enacted FY18 Omnibus Appropriation

For more information, please contact: Sara Nitz,

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