NEW YORK—Field-tested innovations like micronutrient powders and fortified foods are having a direct impact on improving people’s lives, said WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin at an event honouring the 100th anniversary of vitamins during the UN General Assembly in New York.
“The innovations that we have worked hard to conceive and deliver are saving lives and opening roads to happier and healthier outcomes for children at risk and the mothers and fathers that love and care for them,” said Cousin.
In 1912, Polish biochemist Casimir (Kazimierz) Funk coined the term “vitamin” to describe a category of micronutrients that are essential to life. He later worked with British scientist Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins to formulate the “vitamin hypothesis of deficiency disease,” which states that certain illnesses are caused by not eating enough of the right combination of vitamins. Read more
The reception brought together leading figures from the nutrition community to discuss the “progress and promise” of vitamins in the fight against malnutrition. Almost one third of children in developing countries are malnourished, and 150 million children are underweight for their age.
First 1,000 days
In the first two years of life, chronic malnutrition can mean reduced cognitive development, poorer school performance and lower income-earning potential in adulthood.
WFP’s partnership with the Dutch life-science company DSM has been a powerful vehicle for building more resilient communities through food assistance programs that better merge food security needs with nutrition security.
DSM has committed $16 million to nutrition improvement that directly impacts the children and families that WFP serves. Already, the DSM-supported initiatives have reached over 12 million people in the form of food products such as micronutrient powders and fortified rice.
“Together, [WFP and DSM] have developed and delivered nutrition innovations that are making a positive difference in people’s lives,” said Cousin.