Women and girls have unique nutritional requirements throughout the life cycle—especially during adolescence, before and during pregnancy, and while breastfeeding. In particular, the nutritional vulnerability of mothers is the greatest during the 1,000 days between pregnancy and a child’s second birthday, which is a critical period of growth and development.

In many countries around the world, the nutritional status of women is unacceptably poor. Far too many women cannot access the nutrition services they need for optimal health for themselves and their children. Additionally, many women cannot access a nutritious diet because of the high cost of nutrient-rich foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, eggs, poultry, fish, and meat.