Nutrition is key to human well-being, but far too many people around the world are afflicted by poor nutrition. Malnutrition is a complex, multisectoral problem that presents across a continuum of poor nutrition, from under-nutrition due to deficiencies in energy, protein, and micronutrients (and high rates of infections) to problems of overweight, obesity, and noncommunicable diseases, which result from poor quality, energy-dense and micronutrient-poor diets and low physical activity. The first 1,000 days of life (from conception to a child’s second birthday) are critical to ensuring good nutrition. Failing to do so has long-lasting, irreversible consequences into adulthood, including stunted growth, stunted brains, and stunted nations as a result of the lower education, productivity, and poorer health and nutrition of its work force.
IFPRI’s nutrition research focuses on addressing all forms of malnutrition through strengthening and rigorously evaluating multisectoral programs and policies that aim at improving the diets, nutritional status, and health of mothers, infants, and young children during the first 1,000 days and at other critical stages of the lifecycle (for example, adolescence). IFPRI researchers work in partnership with program implementers and policymakers to foster collaboration and integration across the health, social protection, education and child development, water and sanitation, and agriculture sectors. The Institute’s overall goal is to generate a rich body of evidence on what works to improve nutrition—and what does not—how programs and policies can be better designed and implemented to maximize impacts, and what will it cost to implement successful programs.