An important, hopeful book that looks at the urgent problem of childhood malnutrition worldwide and the revolutionary progress being made to end it. From the much-admired writer of luminous prose and humane heart, winner of the John Burroughs Medal for distinguished nature writing.
A healthy Earth requires healthy children. Yet nearly one fourth of the world's children--one in four--are stunted physically and mentally due to a lack of food or nutrients. These children do not die but endure a lifetime of diminished potential.
In the past thirty years, writes Sharman Russell in Within Our Grasp
, we have seen a revolution in how we treat these sick children, and how, with a new understanding of the human body and approach to nutrition, along with new ways to reach out to hungry mothers and babies, we have gone from unwittingly killing the severely malnourished child to bringing him/her back to health through a "miracle" ready-to-eat therapeutic food.
Intertwined with stories of scientists and nutrition experts on the front lines of finding a means of putting an end to malnutrition for good, Russell writes of her travels to Malawi, one of the poorest and least-developed countries in the world (80% of Malawians are farmers subsisting on less than an acre, coping with erratic weather patterns due to global warming, with 50% living below the poverty line and 42% of children being affected by lack of food or nutrients), the site of pathbreaking, cutting-edge research into childhood malnutrition.
As she writes of her personal exploration of new friendships and insights in a country known as "the warm heart of Africa," Russell describes the programs that are working best to reduce childhood stunting and explores how feeding and malnutrition of our children are connected to climate change; how vitamins and minerals are preventing these harmful effects; why the empowerment of women is the most effective single factor in eliminating childhood malnutrition; and what the costs are of ending childhood malnutrition.