Finding support for your child’s nutrition in the First 1,000 days

Mother and her baby - breastfeeding

In the world today, one in three children under the age of 5 is either stunted, wasted or overweight. In many countries less than a fourth of infants 6-23 months of age meet the criteria of dietary diversity and feeding frequency that are appropriate for their age. (WHO, UNICEF) Undernutrition and obesity in early life can be prevented with the same approach: giving access to appropriate nutrition – particularly during the critical window of the first 1,000 days of life – can make all the difference.

That’s why Danone runs local initiatives in favor of facilitating healthy eating habits for women, babies and toddlers in the first 1000 days

For instance, Danone Germany, with the support of Deutsch Familienstiftung, decided to tackle the issue of infant malnutrition by offering education, services and products to breastfeeding women in Germany, with the aim to contribute to the WHO Nutrition Target dedicated to increasing exclusive breastfeeding rates to 6 months. A significant increase of understanding (+64 ppts from conception onward) and awareness (+47 ppts for people that have heard about it and know what it means) about the first 1,000 Days is related to the program titled “The First 1,000 Days for a healthy life”, implemented in Germany.

 In the USA, the “Happy to Help” initiative by Happy Family aims at providing childhood nutrition education and organic meal donation in collaboration with several non-governmental associations targeting low-income families. Through a program providing in-home support from registered nurses and free breastfeeding support, preterm deliveries decreased by 18% and breastfeeding rate increased by 21%. 

The issue is even more important for low-income families. Those who live in extreme poverty are five times more likely to die before 5 years of age than those in higher-income groups. The same dramatic differences can be found with respect to maternal mortality and preventable diseases (Malnutrition and poverty, Manuel Pena – Pan American Health Organization, February 2002, Annual Review of Nutrition 22(1):241-53). 

Nutritionists, paediatricians and other health experts care for early childhood.

Argentina has a child poverty rate of 62%. Danone Argentina co-created with the Pata Pila NGO two care centers on the first early childhood, that support parents in the first 1000 days with the help of nutritionists, pediatricians, and other health experts in communities with high levels of poverty within the framework of the “Let’s Nourish the Future” education program.

Little child eating

In France, 1 child out of 5 (160,000) is born each year in a low-income family and Danone Communities along with the Red Cross, among others, launched the “Malin” initiative to expand access to nutritional expert advice and adapted food for children coming from vulnerable families

There are two examples of local initiatives addressing public health issues affecting young children, that have demonstrated results.


From January to June 2019, in Salta, Argentina, the prevalence of severe undernourishment decreased by 79%, the prevalence of moderate and low undernourishment decreased by 55% and the prevalence of children overweight decreased by 33%.


The impact of the “Malin” program is expected and will be measured in 2025 by ECAIL study: the prEgnanCy and eArly childhood nutrition triaL, to conduct a randomized controlled trial among 800 socially disadvantaged pregnant women and their families to test the effectiveness of a multi-component home visitation nutrition program, compared to usual care, in promoting healthy feeding practices and growth in young children.

When several players combine their forces in the same project, when skilled partners are committed, people's knowledge increases and therefore their practices and habits are positively impacted.