Women and girls’ nutrition

Nutrition International (formerly the Micronutrient Initiative) is focused on improving nutrition for the world’s most vulnerable, especially women and girls.

Malnutrition is one of the most persistent barriers to women and girls’ empowerment. There are many factors that make women and girls more susceptible to malnutrition – starting with physiological to gender inequality, cultural practices, education, finance and access, to name a few. Overall, malnutrition limits the capacity of women and girls to grow, learn, earn and lead.

To thrive, women need different nutrients and different amounts depending on the stage of her life. Improving nutrition for women will never be a one-size fits all solution.

We believe it is essential to find better ways to reach women and adolescent girls –regardless of whether or not they are pregnant – especially as the world strives towards reaching global targets – from nutrition targets to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Adolescence – the second window of opportunity

When it comes to preventing malnutrition’s irreversible effects, timing is crucial. The first 1,000 days of life, from conception to a child’s second birthday, represents the most powerful window of opportunity. In addition to the first 1,000 days, evidence is growing that shows adolescence is also a critical time for nutrition interventions, and key to fostering healthy life cycles and communities.

There are approximately 900 million girls and young women in the world, each one with the very real potential to break the cycle of malnutrition and poverty in their countries.

Adolescents develop at such a rapid pace it is surpassed only by the staggering growth rate of a newborn.

It’s virtually impossible to overstate the role good nutrition plays in the adolescent stage of a girl’s life. She’s adding height, muscle, and bone mass, while nearly every system and organ in her body matures.

Good nutrition can fuel optimal physical and mental growth, give her the strength and focus to study, work, ward off illness and disease, and care for her family.

What we are doing

Nutrition International is already working to help ensure pregnant women, adolescent girls and all women of reproductive age are the focus of nutritional improvements.

Learn more about how we are working to improve nutrition for women and adolescent girls through our Right Start Initiative, N-LIFT, N-TEAM, our maternal and newborn health efforts, and other programs that support better nutrition for women and girls, including fortification and salt iodization.