Providing good nutrition and preventing undernutrition from pregnancy through childhood is critical to improving health outcomes among women, newborns, and children.

Kate Holt/MCSP

Undernutrition is one of the leading causes of preventable maternal and child death in low- and middle-income countries.1

Children who are undernourished have a higher risk of death from common childhood illnesses such as diarrhea, pneumonia, and malaria.2 Nutrition-related factors contribute to an estimated 45% of deaths in children under age 5.3 Maintaining proper nutrition is critical for the health and well-being of a mother and her unborn child. Pregnant women who follow a healthy diet and achieve adequate weight gain during and after pregnancy can increase the likelihood of improved birth and delivery outcomes.4

Building Momentum for Nutrition

Nutrition affects every aspect of human development. Despite evidence of the power of good nutrition, many women and children around the world remain undernourished. Learn how we can turn the tide for nutrition by putting proven tools to work.

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MOMENTUM’s Approach

We support USAID’s Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Strategy by scaling up the equitable provision of evidence-based multisectoral nutrition interventions and strengthening country capacity and commitment within the health system. We focus on improving adequate maternal and child nutrition during the first 1,000 days—the critical window from conception through the first two years of life—to reduce the risk of adverse birth outcomes and childhood stunting.5


Improve access to and quality of facility-based services

MOMENTUM collaborates with health providers to increase access to and quality of nutrition-specific interventions at the facility level, such as iron and folic acid supplementation for pregnant women and treatment of moderate and severe acute undernutrition. We help facilities strengthen breastfeeding and nutrition counseling and services within existing maternal, newborn, and child health and voluntary family planning platforms. We work with regional public health managers to expand the reach of nutrition interventions, such as Vitamin A supplementation and treatment of children who have worms, through mobile community outreach.

Allan Gichigi/MCSP

Promote healthy nutrition practices and strengthen services at the community level

Many vulnerable households cannot visit a health facility due to distance, cost, or other factors. MOMENTUM addresses this gap to accessing care by working with community health volunteers to increase coverage of community-based services, such as integrated community-based management that offers treatment for severe acute undernutrition. We also scale up evidence-based social and behavior change interventions at the household and community levels to promote supportive social norms and increase the adoption of healthy nutrition preventive practices and behaviors, such as practicing early and exclusive breastfeeding.


Increase global learning

MOMENTUM provides global technical leadership and offers new evidence of what works to improve the quality and effectiveness of nutrition programming. We share that learning across USAID partner countries, ensuring that local leaders can adapt and shape nutrition programming for their local context and integrate promising practices into local nutrition guidelines and strategies.

Clinical officer marks the daily register for nutrition, Igembe, Meru, Kenya 2016
Allan Gichigi/MCSP


  1. World Health Organization (WHO), “Children: Improving Survival and Well-Being,” Sept. 8, 2020,
  2. WHO, “Children: Improving Survival and Well-Being.”
  3. Lucia Hug et al., Levels and Trends in Child Mortality, United Nations Inter-Agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation: Report 2018 (New York: United Nations Children’s Fund, 2018),
  4. WHO, Nutrition Counseling During Pregnancy, Feb. 11, 2019,
  5. United States Agency for International Development (USAID), USAID Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Strategy 2014-2025 (2014),

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