Many associate Bill Gates with Microsoft. However, what many may not know is that he and his wife, Melinda, started the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is taking on some pretty tough problems, including poor nutrition in developing countries. Their intent was to focus on challenges where they could make the biggest impact.
Undernourishment in developing worlds is more prevalent than we would like to believe. According to nutrition team officers with the Foundation, undernourishment is the cause for about one-third of the deaths of children around the world under the age of five. Poor nutrition at any point during a child’s life cycle, including at the time of conception, during pregnancy and during first two years of life can be detrimental.
Think back to when you were going through your basic nutrition courses (yes, I know it may have been many years ago or you may have never taken one). Can you recall the health benefits of having adequate amounts of vitamin A, zinc and/or iron in one’s diet? In case these details may have slipped from your memory…adequate vitamin A can help prevent blindness in all children; zinc can reduce the level of severity of diarrhea and pneumonia in children that are under the age of five; adequate iron levels can decrease fatigue and increase work ability and raise IQ levels in children older than age 2. How truly amazing it is that these tiny little nutrients have such a great impact on one’s health?
To help educate and remind health practitioners of the importance of three key nutrients, vitamin A, zinc and iron, in one’s diet, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation developed a five-part video series that discusses them in detail. Take a few moments to watch these impactful videos and re-educate yourself on the importance of adequate nutrition in our children. Undernourishment isn’t just something that happens in far-off countries; it is also happening here in the states. You can make a strong impact on the quality of life those children you may see/treat but just being aware of signs and symptoms of undernourishment.
To view the video series, visit http://www.impatientoptimists.org/Posts/2012/04/Nutrition-on-Video or http://vimeo.com/channels/micronutrients.