On World Health Day, 7 April, the World Health Organization (WHO) is directing awareness towards Diabetes, as “more than 80% of diabetes deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.”

Having a healthy diet, exercising, and keeping your weight in check are important ways to decrease the likelihood of Type 2 Diabetes. But it all begins even before birth, as does a child's burden of malnutrition.

According to WHO, “Undernutrition during pregnancy increases the risk of delayed growth in the womb, and for may increase the child’s risk of obesity and of developing noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes later in life.”

WHO also says that, “The noncommunicable disease epidemic begins with undernutrition in the first 1000 days during pregnancy, infancy and young childhood.”

Beating Diabetes requires nutrition even before birth in the first 1000 days of life.

One Goal joins our partners at World Vision in focusing on three essential outcomes to improving the health and nutrition of women and children in areas where World Vision works from the first 1000 days of life through to adulthood by contributing to reduction of under five and maternal mortality: 

  1. Mothers and children are well nourished.
  2. Mothers and children are protected from infection and disease.
  3. Mothers and children access essential health services.

In Asia, the region home to 578 million of the nearly 1 billion malnourished people on the planet, ensuring every woman, whether rich or poor, has the ability to enjoy good nutrition for herself, her children and her children still to be born is key to reducing undernutrition and its related risks later in life such as Type 2 Diabetes. Every woman should be protected and supported with a maternity protection policy to enable them taking adequate paid maternity leave, able to breastfeed or pump her breast milk in a clean and private space, and get the breastfeeding or pumping breaks that she needs. Read how World Vision is implementing policies that protect and support mothers in Bangladesh.

That children are well nourished especially in the first 1000 days of life is key to their mental and physical development forever. A mother’s breast milk is rich with the nutrients needed for her baby’s health. Breastfeeding provides total food security with high nutritional value. Improved breastfeeding practices worldwide could save the lives of 800,000 children annually.  But breastfeeding is a declining practice in some countries. In Cambodia, One Goal partner World Vision, together with Helen Keller International, released a study that found high levels of illegal marketing of breast-milk substitutes (BMS), despite laws regulating their promotion. Declining breastfeeding in Cambodia in recent years could be an effect of the illegal promotions of breast milk substitutes that are encouraging mothers to bottle feed instead. Read more about the study's findings.

This World Health Day, One Goal and World Vision support the message of healthy, well-nourished mothers and children from the first 1000 days of life through to adulthood as key to combatting issues of undernutrition, obesity, and the development of noncommunicable diseases later in life such as Type 2 Diabetes.

More ways World Vision is beating Diabetes in the first 1000 days of life with nutrition and nutrition education

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In Laos: Mee, 23, a young mother from Phonethong Area Development Project breastfed her baby Vandy 6 months while Phonekeo, 3.6 years the first daughter watches and playing around. “It is easy to provide breast milk for my baby because there is no need to boil water or clean the bottles,” Mee says confidently. Photo by Nila Douanesouvanh/World Vision

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In Cambodia: Phayna has been working as a Village Health Support Group of World Vision since 2004. She teaches mother groups about how to cook nutritious foods, proper vaccine injection, breastfeeding techniques, and how to take care their health during pregnancy and after deliver a baby. “I want to see all mothers understand the important of their health and also their babies. I want them change their bad habit of feeding children, and I want to see all children in my community have good health and clever,” she said. Photo by Solina Kong/World Vision

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In India: Ritu, 20, is an Anganwadi teacher appointed by the government as part of their Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS). World Vision has equipped her with a maternal and child health flip-booklet, which she uses to explain issues of malnutrition, breastfeeding, and healthy eating habits to pregnant and lactating mothers who visit the ICDS centre. "World Vision gave me a maternal and child health flip-booklet which is very helpful when I am addressing pregnant and lactating mothers. It has all information and photos regarding breastfeeding, how to take care of children, what is malnutrition, and how to avoid malnutrition.” Photo by Annila Harris/World Vision

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In Philippines: Mothers’ breastfeed at the Women and Young Children Space in Ormoc, after Typhoon Haiyan hit their community. World Vision Philippines opposed the lifting of the ban on milk donations during the Haiyan response, in line with its advocacy for the protection and promotion of breastfeeding for child survival, especially during emergencies. Photo by Monalinda Cadiz/World Vision


Make a public commitment to a healthy and active lifestyle this World Health Day. Take the #OneGoalChallenge.

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WHO WILL YOU #ONEGOALCHALLENGE? 

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