Engaging Adolescents to Accelerate Progress on the first 1,000 Days

The first 1,000 days, the period between the start of a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday, is the most critical time in life for growth and development and also the most responsive to interventions. Adolescence (ages 10-19) is another critical period during the life course, and linkages between this generation and the first 1,000 days must be explored and exploited more fully by the global nutrition community.

Adolescents—both boys and girls—play an important yet often overlooked role in family health and nutrition. As parents, future parents, and an estimated one-sixth of the world’s population, this generation is contributing to and shaping society in so many ways. Adolescents’ growth, health, nutrition, human capital, and societal significance are not only important for their own well-being, but also for ensuring optimal maternal health and birth outcomes for themselves and their families now and later in life. This paper will demonstrate how prioritizing and engaging adolescents prior to and during the first 1,000 days can accelerate progress on improving nutrition and contribute to meeting multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Published 2018-06-26

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