Chronic malnutrition comes from deficiencies in iodine, folic acid, vitamin A, and other micronutrients that people in affluent countries typically consume in their normal diets.

A woman buys bananas at a roadside market in eastern Sierra Leone.

Iodine deficiency is the leading preventable cause of intellectual and developmental disabilities in the world. A lack of folic acid can cause anemia, and low vitamin A is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children. Poor nutrition in the first thousand days of a child’s life can stunt their growth — a condition associated with impaired cognitive ability, and reduced school and work performance. Nearly half of all under-five deaths in the world are due to malnutrition. [1]

These devastating consequences are all preventable with simple, cost-effective interventions like food fortification.

In fact, the World Bank says “probably no other technology available today offers as large an opportunity to improve lives and accelerate development at such low cost and in such a short time” as micronutrient fortification. [2]

Mother and two kids on mat eating ugali

Our recommended hunger charities combat inequalities in food supply and distribution, and the underlying structures that lead to inadequate nutrition. These organizations’ innovative and research-backed initiatives bring improved crops, nourishing meals, and vital nutrients to millions of the world’s neediest families.


[1] World Health Organization, Malnutrition is a world health crisis

[2] Unicef, Vitamin & Mineral Deficiency assessment report