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Food & Hunger

Why You Can't Live on Chicken Nuggets Alone

World Vision/Jon Warren

What’s your favorite childhood snack? Maybe chilled slushy Otter Pops, or your mom’s warm chocolate chip cookies. For me it’s definitely dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets. I’d pretend the ketchup was lava chasing the dinos around the edge of the plate. Of course their doom was imminent – it was lunchtime!

Imagine if all you ate growing up was that favorite childhood snack. When you’re 5-years-old, that might seem ideal. Having enough icy Otter pops or dinosaur chicken nuggets to last a lifetime - what a dream. Even though I would have had enough food eating dinosaur chicken nuggets all the time, by no means would this be enough of the right nutritious food to properly develop my brain and body at such a young age.

When it comes to good nutrition, it’s about having both enough food and the right nutritious food. If my mom had let me eat dinosaur nuggets for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I wouldn’t have been taking in all the necessary nutrients and proteins needed to enable my growth, both physically and mentally, to reach its full potential. And when your body doesn’t reach its full potential, neither can you.

Quality Not Just Quantity

The first 1,000 days of a child’s life, from pregnancy to the child’s second birthday, are vital. Not having enough food for a healthy life is the case for many moms living in poverty. Without adequate nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life, children suffer lifelong physical, mental and developmental consequences.

Not only does the amount of food matter, but the variety of food is also important. Your body needs a variety of vitamins and minerals to carry out hundreds of necessary functions, and without enough of each vitamin, people become blind, develop bowed legs, and have weak bones and teeth. Kids can lose up to 10 IQ points simply from not eating the right food. This has lifelong ramifications on education and economic development.

Maybe your mom was right when she asked you to finish your broccoli before you left the table...

So yes, it’s important for people to have enough food, but if it’s not the right nutritious food that enables children to reach their full potential, then the poverty cycle will never be broken.

Photo9.jpgImage: World Vision/ Annila Harris

How to Respond

Malnutrition still claims the lives of nearly 3 million children under age 5 every year and undermines the potential of millions more. In this day in age, with so many resources at our fingertips, this is is simply unacceptable. It’s even more outrageous that these deaths are largely preventable. Despite these alarming numbers, and the horrific tragedies they describe, there is hope. Through proven interventions and better practices, it is realistic and affordable to make significant progress towards achieving this goal in the next decade!

We know a hungerfree world is possible when everyone has access to the right food for today, enough nutritious food for tomorrow and sustainable food resources for the future.

Don’t miss this golden opportunity

On August 4, just as the world’s top athletes gather at the Olympics, world leaders are also gathering at the Nutrition for Growth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This is a golden opportunity for world leaders to make new and improved  commitment to creating a hunger-free world.

You can help by joining our #Nutrition4Gold Twitter campaign on Thunderclap!