Baby Anoi weighs 4.3 kilograms which is where he should be at twenty-five days old. Low-birth weight is one of the many factors, along with the proper nutrition in the first 1000 days of life, that can impact Anoi’s growth and development forever. ©Albert Yu/World Vision

Vorn is 3 years old.He is malnourished because his family lacks the money to buy enough food. Their family struggle to meet many of their most basic needs: food, clean water, sanitation, clothes, education, and medicine. They do not own land, nor the place they live in. Their ‘home’ is a grain storage unit owned by the farmer they work for, who gave them permission to live in it. ©Jerry Galea/World Vision

In the aftermath of disaster, nutrition is an even higher need for young children whose breastfeeding mothers are stressed or feel they are not able to breastfeed their children. Following Typhoon Haiyan, World Vision’s Women and Young Children Spaces (WAYCS) were established to provide mothers with breastfeeding support to ensure malnutrition would not be coming a subsequent effect of the disaster. A mother’s breast milk is rich with nutrients for her baby. Breastfeeding provides total food security, with high nutritional value, for baby optimizing a child’s physical and mental growth and development. ©Annila Harris/World Vision

Shimanto, 2 years and 10 months, used to be severely underweight for his age. His mother, Lipi, was unaware about child nutrition and nutritious foods to feed her son. She would give him the same food as the other elder members of the family. A porridge program helped to teach Lipi how to care for her son and ensure he consumes the right nutrients. Today he is healthy. “This program brought life back to my child," says Lipi. ©Gloria Das/World Vision

Turbayar (age 4, boy) was malnourished and often sick at the beginning of his life. His grandmother who looks after him did not know what to do. After learning child care and nutrition, she began to help her grandson regain his health. ©Enkhbayar Purevjav/World Vision

At eighteen months, each time baby Rita was hungry she was fed a watery starch from a dirty bowl. Her meals were not only without nutrition but they also lacked hygiene. As a result, she suffers from frequent diarrhoea and marasmus – a gradual wasting-away of the body due to severe malnutrition. ©Alina Shrestha/World Vision

A malnutrition survey in an area in India was conducted to see how many children below the age of five were malnourished. Jyothi was one of the 7% of children who were identified to be severely malnourished. ©Ajitson Samuel Justus/World Vision

Kiew, age 3, Laos. Kiew lives with his grandfather who has learned new skills for growing their home garden: “We have foot eat…and nutritious food for my grandchildren so they are healthy. Thank you, World Vision, to help our family have nutritious food.” ©Ammala Thomisith/World Vision

Reliana holds her baby sister. Besides themselves, there are 8 other children in the family. They only eat one meal a day. Reliana is constantly hungry and very tired because of it. She sees that other children in East Timor are always the same--hungry--but she knows that children in other counties like Australia are "full." ©Rohan Zerna & Jacqui Hocking/World Vision

Marjan, who is 25 months old, is malnourished weighing only 6 kilos. In Afghanistan more than half of all children under age five are chronically malnourished. ©World Vision

Lactating mothers stand in line to receive a breastfeeding kit at the World Vision’s Women and Young Children Space (WAYCS) following Typhoon Haiyan. The breastfeeding kit consists of a water bottle for the hydration of mothers, feeding cup to store breast milk, lunch box for storing food, a breast feeding scarf for having privacy while breast feeding and a bag to carry all the items. In the aftermath of disaster, practices like breastfeeding are critical to the nutrition of young children. Improved breastfeed practices worldwide could save the lives of 800,000 children annually. ©Annila Harris/World Vision

In East Timor, Tomasina is not consuming the proper nutrients to fuel her growth and development. Her arm measures in the red zone, indicating severely malnourished, of the malnutrition armband that is used to measure the circumference of an infant's arm. ©Rohan Zerna & Jacqui Hocking/World Vision

Across Asia, food is deciding the future of children and a next generation of never-to-be football champions. 

Food – not just enough food, but the right food – is the blueprint of a child’s future.  A child’s ability to one day live a healthy life and raise a healthy family is decided by the food they consume as children.

One-quarter of Asia’s 350 million children under the age of five are underweight – they measure low weight-for-age when compared to their healthy peers. 100 million of Asia’s children are stunted – they measure low height-for-age, an indicator of chronic malnutrition.

Malnutrition is an underlying cause in nearly half of deaths in children under age five. The reality is that by not consuming the right foods with nutrients and vitamins essential to growth and development, 3.1 million children under age five die every year with the largest number in Asia.

Poor nutrition, caused by a lack of nutritious food consumption, at the start of life is a key reason why Asia’s children – future footballers – are not able to compete equally with their international peers in life, and on the pitch.

Food should not decide football champions. Food should not decide children’s futures.

On World Food Day (October 16), One Goal reflects on how food – enough food and the right food – is essential to tackling issues of hunger and malnutrition across Asia.

Read more posts for World Food Day by One Goal