The first 1000 days of life starts from conception and up to the second birthday of the child. This is a critical window of time that sets the stage for a person’s intellectual development and lifelong health. It is a period of enormous potential, but also of enormous vulnerability.
This program on nutrition wishes to ensure that every child has the right start in life. It aims to create awareness among mothers and the community as a whole that proper infant and young child feeding practices are vital to the child’s growth and development. It aims to promote exclusive breastfeeding for the child’s first 6 months and the giving of appropriate complementary food while continuing breastfeeding even after 6 months. Nutrition during pregnancy and in the first years of a child’s life provides the essential building blocks for brain development, healthy growth, and a strong immune system.
Any form of malnutrition early in life can cause irreversible damage to children’s brain development and their physical growth, leading to diminished capacity to learn, poorer performance in school, greater susceptibility to infection and disease and a lifetime of lost earning potential. It can even put them at increased risk of developing illnesses.
This year’s nutrition month celebration is themed “First 1000 Days ni baby pahalagahan para sa malusog na kinabukasan.” This is the country’s way of informing and educating Filipinos on the importance of the child’s first 1000 days, help in improving nutrition during this span of time, and to hopefully prevent or decrease child morbidity and mortality as malnutrition’s irreversible effects.