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Nutrition vision of PCI India

Nutrition is an intrinsic part of the Health and Nutrition vision of PCI India for accomplishing the dream of ‘happy, healthy and safe communities. The human body constantly develops and changes throughout the life cycle with food providing fuel for these changes and proper nutrition being a key factor to ensure health and wellness at each of these stages.

India contributes a third of the global burden of undernutrition. Given India’s population size, investing in actions to reduce all forms of malnutrition is especially important, not just for India itself, but also to support the attainment of global targets. Nutrition is central to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda, and at least 12 of the 17 SDGs include indicators relevant for nutrition.

The foundation for a healthy life and well-being is laid in the mother’s womb. The first 1000 days of life – the time spanning roughly between conception and a child’s second birthday – is the most crucial period of physical and cognitive development. This is when a child’s brain, body and immune system develop significantly, which holds the key to lifelong physical and mental well-being. Studies have long established that nutrition deficiency and lack of early learning opportunities during the first 1000 days contribute to the loss of developmental and academic potential, often leading to lifelong health and economic disparities. According to the Global Nutrition Report 2015, a country can get 16 dollars in return for every dollar invested in nutrition proving that investing in nutrition has high human and economic returns.

PCI India’s holistic and multi-pronged approach integrates nutrition in its overall programming. The current focus is on Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition through various platforms with efforts on contributing to outcomes for improving diet diversity, anaemia and optimal feeding practices. The strategy is to promote individual and social behaviour change for better practices, deal with socio-cultural norms and taboos and empower communities to generate demand for related services. Although nutrition practices at the household level are mostly service independent, we are also looking at convergence with related departments for ensuring that nutrition schemes and entitlements reach the communities.

PCI India envisions to expand its body of work on nutrition and look at the life cycle approach for nutrition interventions in the future.