Experts were pumped when they realized why Bangladeshi kids started growing taller.
True
Gates Foundation: The Story of Food

How can you measure progress in a developing country? In Bangladesh, you can do it with a yardstick.

Image via Akram Ali/CARE.


Over the past 12 years, something incredible happened in Bangladesh: The kids grew taller than usual.

It's a discovery that, at first, left many development and nutrition experts scratching their heads. Just how — in parts of a country that lead the world in malnutrition and where global grain shortages are rampant — are children growing taller than usual?

When the experts fit the pieces all together, the results were amazing.

Bangladesh's kids grew taller because the country focused on its women.

We live in a world where millions of children aren't able to grow as big as they should because of a condition often referred to as stunting. It happens when kids are malnourished — and it happens a lot. More than 3 million children under the age of 5 die every year because of malnourishment.

But that's started to change in countries like Bangladesh.

In 2004, the poverty-fighting organization CARE, USAID, and the Bangladesh government teamed up to launch the SHOUHARDO project (which means “friendship” in Bangla and also stands for Strengthening Household Ability to Respond to DevelopmentOpportunities). At the time, they didn't realize the how much focusing on women's empowerment in the country would affect its children.

Image via Akram Ali/CARE.

From 2006 to 2009, the country decreased stunting in its children by 28%.

That's nearly double the average of the typical food security project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

How'd they manage to do it? By providing women with resources that improve maternal health outcomes, access to safe sanitation, household assets, maternal education, and access to health services.

The benefits of the project go well beyond the lives of the women in the project — they spill into the lives of their families, their communities, and to the next generation.

It’s the best kind of domino effect.

Image via Josh Estey/CARE.

“Women who participated in the empowerment interventions were getting better antenatal care, eating more nutritious food and getting more rest during pregnancy,” said TANGO International’s Lisa Smith, lead author of a paper about the project.

“They and their children also had better diets in terms of the variety of foods.”

We can prove that developing countries can help their kids to grow taller and healthier when organizations and governments work together.

Bangladesh's multidimensional approach to reducing childhood stunting should have world leaders taking notes.

And right now is the perfect time to grab them a pen.

Image via Akram Ali/CARE.

On Aug. 4, 2016, global leaders and governments are convening at the Second High Level Summit on Nutrition in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

There, they’ll discuss their roles in fighting hunger and malnutrition around the world. It'll be the largest, most important event to address global nutrition issues until 2020.

But as we know, talking isn’t enough. Governments will need to make policy changes and commit more resources to reducing the number of children affected by malnutrition — and that's exactly why the Generation Nutrition coalition is advocating for three main goals out of Rio: calling on world leaders to commit to action, building sustainable communities to focus on prevention, and making sure every child has the treatment they need.

Image via Generation Nutrition.

Why does this matter? Well, food plays a critical role in virtually every aspect of the world’s future.

And, currently, only 4% of aid has a direct impact on nutrition. That's a problem.

When you consider food as a basic need of survival, it’s hard to argue that percentage shouldn’t be higher. Kids with a healthier shot at life will end up saving us big bucks in the long run, as problems from poor health and poverty only get worse and more expensive the longer they go on.

Seeing how women's empowerment can directly affect a child's ability to grow taller and healthier shows just how connected global issues are. It can help us more easily disrupt the cycle of poverty — and create a future where kids can grow to be their best selves.

The nutrition summit is an opportunity to help set a path toward better nutrition and futures for our world's children. But it's up to our leaders to actually help make that path a clearer one.

Courtesy of FIELDTRIP
True

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected diverse communities due largely in part to social factors such as inadequate access to housing, income, dietary options, education and employment — all of which have been shown to affect people's physical health.

Recognizing that inequity, Harlem-based chef JJ Johnson sought out to help his community maximize its health during the pandemic — one grain at a time.

Johnson manages FIELDTRIP, a health-focused restaurant that strives to bring people together through the celebration of rice, a grain found in cuisines of countless cultures.

"It was very important for me to show the world that places like Harlem want access to more health-conscious foods," Johnson said. "The people who live in Harlem should have the option to eat fresh, locally farmed and delicious food that other communities have access to."

Lack of education and access to those healthy food options is a primary driver of why 31% of adults in Harlem are struggling with obesity — the highest rate of any neighborhood in New York City and 7% higher than the average adult obesity rate across the five boroughs.

Obesity increases risk for heart disease or diabetes, which in turn leaves Harlem's residents — who are 76% Black or LatinX — at heightened risk for complications with COVID-19.

Keep Reading Show less
via KrustyKhajiit / YouTube

Thomas F. Wilson played one of the most recognizable villains in film history, Biff Tannen, in the "Back to the Future" series. So, understandably, he gets recognized wherever he goes for the iconic role.

The attention must be nice, but it has to get exhausting answering the same questions day in and day out about the films. So Wilson created a card that he carries with him to hand out to people that answers all the questions he gets asked on a daily basis.

Keep Reading Show less
Courtesy of FIELDTRIP
True

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected diverse communities due largely in part to social factors such as inadequate access to housing, income, dietary options, education and employment — all of which have been shown to affect people's physical health.

Recognizing that inequity, Harlem-based chef JJ Johnson sought out to help his community maximize its health during the pandemic — one grain at a time.

Johnson manages FIELDTRIP, a health-focused restaurant that strives to bring people together through the celebration of rice, a grain found in cuisines of countless cultures.

"It was very important for me to show the world that places like Harlem want access to more health-conscious foods," Johnson said. "The people who live in Harlem should have the option to eat fresh, locally farmed and delicious food that other communities have access to."

Lack of education and access to those healthy food options is a primary driver of why 31% of adults in Harlem are struggling with obesity — the highest rate of any neighborhood in New York City and 7% higher than the average adult obesity rate across the five boroughs.

Obesity increases risk for heart disease or diabetes, which in turn leaves Harlem's residents — who are 76% Black or LatinX — at heightened risk for complications with COVID-19.

Keep Reading Show less

Sometimes a politician says or does something so brazenly gross that you have to do a double take to make sure it really happened. Take, for instance, this tweet from Lauren Witzke, a GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate from Delaware. Witzke defeated the party's endorsed candidate to win the primary, has been photographed in a QAnon t-shirt, supports the conspiracy theory that 9/11 was a U.S. government inside operation, and has called herself a flat earther.

So that's neat.

Witzke has also proposed a 10-year total halt on immigration to the U.S., which is absurd on its face, but makes sense when you see what she believes about immigrants. In a tweet this week, Witzke wrote, "Most third-world migrants can not assimilate into civil societies. Prove me wrong."

First, let's talk about how "civil societies" and developing nations are not different things, and to imply that they are is racist, xenophobic, and wrong. Not to mention, it has never been a thing to refer people using terms like "third-world." That's a somewhat outdated term for developing nations, and it was never an adjective to describe people from those nations even when it was in use.

Next, let's see how Twitter thwapped Lauren Witzke straight into the 21st century by proving her wrong in the most delicious way. Not only did people share how they or their relatives and friends have successfully "assimilated," but many showed that they went way, way beyond that.

Keep Reading Show less
via WatchMojo / YouTube

There are two conflicting viewpoints when it comes to addressing culture from that past that contains offensive elements that would never be acceptable today.

Some believe that old films, TV shows, music or books with out-of-date, offensive elements should be hidden from public view. While others think they should be used as valuable tools that help us learn from the past.

Keep Reading Show less