The Save the Children Fund

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Meeting: 
Seventy-second World Health Assembly (A72/1)
Agenda Item: 
- Prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases
Statement: 

Good nutrition is a case of life or death. Good nutrition is the difference between a child not just surviving, but thriving.

38 million children under five are overweight, which increases the risk of noncommunicable diseases such as heart disease and stroke; diabetes and some cancers. Childhood obesity is associated with a higher chance of obesity, premature death and disability in adulthood. Furthermore, childhood undernutrition is a risk factor for adult NCDs.

It is estimated that malnutrition in all its forms could cost society up to US$3.5 trillion per year, with overweight and obesity alone costing US$500 billion per year. Yet nutrition has been consistently under-financed. New analysis shows global donor investments in high-impact nutrition interventions is falling, and many existing commitments to nutrition expire at 2020.

The Global Nutrition Summit, which will be hosted by the Japanese Government alongside the Olympics in 2020, presents an important opportunity to put the world on a pathway to achieving the 2030 SDG Goals and end malnutrition in all its forms.

This summit, just 5 years from the World Health Assembly targets and 10 years from the SDG’s, will be held at a critical time to understand how the world is progressing on its targets, and to update on accountability for commitments.

Critically, the summit will be necessary to garner new commitments to close gap in the global nutrition investment framework.

The platform of the Olympic games, which represents what the human body can achieve when properly nourished, is a fitting venue to highlight the huge gaps in universal access to health and nutrition the world still faces.

We encourage States to join the Government of Japan in its efforts to make this monumental achievement happen, to prepare to attend the summit in 2020, and to pledge their own commitment to nutrition.