Undernutrition is estimated to be an underlying cause in more than one-third of all deaths in children under five. Programmes to improve household food security and nutrition information increase children’s chances of growing to adulthood. FAO programmes assist poor households and communities to secure access to nutritionally adequate diets and reduce child undernutrition. Activities include: community-centred initiatives, training materials, nutrition education programmes, training programmes for national and local staff, and promotion of a forum on household food security and community nutrition.
Improved complementary feeding for young children, i.e. giving foods in addition to breastmilk, is an important way to prevent undernutrition and reduce child mortality. FAO helps countries strengthen local capacities to improve complementary feeding for young children, using locally available and affordable foods. Through linking household food security with nutrition education, improved complementary feeding using family foods is feasible even in resource poor environments. Programmes have been successfully implemented in Afghanistan and Zambia and FAO is now applying this approach in more countries. FAO is also part of the Renewed Efforts against Child Hunger and Undernutrition (REACH) in partnership with UNICEF, WHO and WFP.