20120813 Scaling Up Nutrition & Disability: Stronger Together

Scaling Up Nutrition & Disability: Stronger Together


UNICEF Working Paper developed with support from Leonard Cheshire Disability and Inclusive Development Centre, University College London

Key Points:

  • Over one billion people worldwide are undernourished. This includes 171 million children aged <5 years who are stunted (chronically malnourished). The Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to tackle both the causes and consequences of hunger, with particular attention to the nutritional status of children in the first 1000 days of life1.
  • Over one billion people worldwide live with a disability2. This includes an estimated 150 million infants and children aged <5 years3 whose health is often poor and whose life opportunities are limited4. Ensuring access to appropriate services and support and tackling marginalization is key to improving their health and development.
  • Nutrition and disability are intimately related: both are global health priorities; and both the elimination of malnutrition and ensuring the health and well-being of children with disabilities can only be addressed by also tackling issues of poverty, ensuring equity and guaranteeing the human rights of at-risk individuals. The right to food is articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 25)5. The right to healthcare, education and social participation  (which would include, all efforts to improve the health and well-being for infants and toddlers with disabilities) are articulated in the 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)6.
  • There are both direct and indirect feedback loops between under-nutrition and disability. Improving nutritional services can eliminate or mitigate some forms of preventable disabilities. Improving access to nutritious food and understanding the nutritional needs of children with disabilities can improve the health and well-being of many children and provide them with a better start in life.
  • Closer links between SUN and Disability Movements would represent a pioneering and synergistic partnership. It would broaden the stakeholder support base for both areas and would foster greater collaborative work to enhance impact of international, national and local programming that addresses the pre-natal and early childhood nutritional needs of at-risk children.