Updated 03 October 2016

The devastating effect of poor nutrition on a child’s wellbeing

Many South African children have inadequate diets during their first 1,000 days of life, which can cause significant health problems for the rest of their lives.


From 27 May to 2 June 2016 South Africa celebrates National Child Protection Week, which focuses on the safety and wellbeing of all children.

Essential building blocks

Proper nutrition is critical to a child’s ability to learn, grow and thrive, especially from the start of pregnancy until a child’s second birthday - their first 1,000 days of life.

This is the time when the essential building blocks for brain development, healthy growth and the development of a strong immune system have to be provided.

Read: Picky eaters – should parents be worried?

Early malnutrition can have devastating consequences which include irreversible damage to a child’s brain development and physical growth.

Not only does this impact a child’s own future but because of poor workplace productivity and later health implications, it can negatively affect the South African economy as a whole.

Across the globe, close to 170 million children have had the growth of their young bodies and brains stunted by malnutrition. Although South Africa provides free healthcare for pregnant mothers and young children, accessibility can sometimes be an obstacle, especially for those living in rural areas.

Read: Kids who sleep less tend to eat more

Ajuga, a Cipla initiative, aims to make a difference by ensuring that all children have at least two years of pre-school education and receive proper nutrition and healthcare.

Ajuga also aims to provide fire-resistant structures to help communities. These structures are being used as créches in informal settlements, and can also be used for other care centres, depending on the needs of the community.

Good nutrition and healthcare during the first 1,000 days of a child’s life will help to provide solid building blocks for the future, enabling our children to learn well, and become valuable members of their societies – as well as becoming good parents themselves one day.

Read more:

This family had McDonald’s and Spur almost 10 times a month

Noakes' 'real food' may not be kid friendly

Breast milk 101

This article was brought to you by Cipla Medpro South Africa (Pty) Limited and its affiliates. 
Find out how Cipla is advancing healthcare for all in South Africa.

Sources: (2016) Official website of 1000 days. [online] Available at: (Accessed on 12 May 2016)Ibid. (2014) Website of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. [online] Available at: (Accessed on 12 May 2016)

[1] (1996) Official website of the Health Systems Trust. [online] Available at: (Accessed on 12 May 2016)


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