This initiative provides yet another example of how Hillary Clinton is carrying forward, in the private arena, work that she set in motion as Secretary of State. In her September 2010 introduction of the 1000 Days Initiative she clarified, along with other world leaders, the effect affordable, healthful nutrition, pre-natal through age two, can have on a nation.Fostering good health in children is a life-long endeavor that begins with proper nutrition and healthy food choices in the early years. Babies and toddlers who are fed low-calorie, nutritious foods are healthier and do better in school than kids who consume high-calorie foods. But when we consider that the healthy development of a child is also dependent on choices that her mother made while pregnant, it becomes apparent that nutrition and good health are intrinsically linked in ways we are just beginning to understand.A developing baby in utero draws all of her nutrition from her mother. If a mother’s health is impacted by a poor environment or she doesn’t eat well, the baby’s health and development are also at risk.A baby’s brain is perhaps even more sensitive to fluctuations in nutrition. For example, recent studies show that babies with low birth weight are more susceptible to obesity later in life. The reason for this is that the area of the human brain that signals when you’re full develops improperly in low birth weight babies, and so they are “wired” for overeating and obesity. Low birth weight babies are also at risk for other diseases in adulthood like heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.Good nutrition and healthy eating choices are critical for pregnant mothers, and even for women who are thinking of becoming pregnant. Since many people often do not fill their dietary needs through food alone, health experts strongly encourage pregnant women or women of childbearing age to take prenatal vitamins that are high in folic acid and other essential vitamins and minerals for healthy fetal growth.For communities where healthy food choices are limited, there are various organizations and community groups throughout the country that are making concerted efforts to provide healthy options. These include farmers’ markets that are accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, and other nutrition incentives.Read More:
- A review of some of the top causes for low birth weight, from Boston Children’s Hospital.
- An example of one community’s effort to bring healthful food to its people (People’s Community Market in Oakland, CA).
- A useful guide on healthy eating for pregnant women.In the News:
- “Why Low Birth Weight is Linked To Obesity Later in Life: Study Provides Explanation.” Science Daily. March 12, 2011.
- “Study Finds More Benefits of Folic Acid.” The New York Times. February 12, 2013.
VideoNew CDC study finds that obesity rates among 2-4 year olds dropped in 18 states.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of StateInterContinental HotelNew York CitySeptember 21, 2010