SOURCE: Helen Keller International

Helen Keller International

October 04, 2011 17:08 ET

Nutrition Takes Center Stage: Kathy Spahn of Helen Keller International Attends High Level Meetings

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Oct 4, 2011) - Kathy Spahn, President and CEO of Helen Keller International, attended both the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly and the 6th annual Clinton Global Initiative to showcase the importance of nutrition-centered programming.

For infants and children under the age of two, the consequences of under-nutrition are particularly severe and often irreversible. Proper nutrition, especially during the first 1,000 days from the beginning of a woman's pregnancy and her child's second birthday, can have a profound impact on a child's ability to grow, learn, and rise out of poverty. It can also shape a society's long-term health, stability and prosperity.

Ms. Spahn participated in Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's panel about "Women and Agriculture: A Conversation on Improving Global Food Security," moderated by The New York Times columnist Nick Kristof. Ms. Spahn explained the difference between calories and nutrition and how including nutritional components in agricultural projects is essential to ensure good health: "You need food with vitamins and minerals in it, what we call micronutrients. A lot of staple crops that we're talking about growing in larger quantities -- maize, rice, cassava -- provide energy in their calories, but they lack micronutrients."

Helen Keller International's Homestead Food Production (HFP) is an example of an agricultural program that explicitly addresses nutrition. HKI trains women to create year-round gardens with micronutrient-rich fruits and vegetables and educates them about proper nutrition for their families, helping to ensure children live a healthy and productive life.

On September 20th, Ms. Spahn joined UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Heads of State at the UN to document the progress of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement one year after it was launched. HKI is a founding member of this movement, which provides a framework for taking action to improve under-nutrition in poor communities.

Real change is only possible when stakeholders work together; these meetings, which brought together key players from civil society, development agencies, local and national governments and UN organizations, are an important part of the process needed to scale up proven solutions to improve nutrition.

Contact Information

    Jennifer Klopp
    Vice President of Development and Communications
    Helen Keller International
    212-532-0544 x808
    Email Contact