Global Health Corps (GHC) and DSM called attention to the growing issue of micronutrient deficiency in the U.S. in a press conference with Barbara Bush, CEO of GHC, Hugh Welsh, President of DSM North America, Newark Municipal Council President Mildred Crump and Jim White, Executive Director of Covenant House New Jersey.
While many Americans receive sufficient food in caloric terms, millions in the United States are undernourished, lacking vital micronutrients that are necessary for proper physical and mental development.
Two GHC fellows, working in conjunction with Covenant House and the Boys & Girls Club of Newark, discussed how their fellowships, made possible by DSM, are helping raise awareness about undernutrition and delivering cost effective interventions to address micronutrient deficiency among underprivileged families in Newark, NJ. The fellows interact daily with members of the Newark community and witness first-hand the growing issue of micronutrient deficiency in the United States, especially during the holiday season.
"To date, 450 GHC fellows have helped tackle some of the most challenging health problems we face," said CEO and co-founder Barbara Bush. "And as much as we are proud of our work in Africa, it is equally important to focus on the health disparities we face here in the United States. Our partnership with DSM, the global leader in nutrition, is helping to address complex health challenges for families here in Newark, including nutrition, which facilitate overall wellness and the opportunity to reach their full potential."
Micronutrient deficiency, also dubbed hidden hunger, is a huge, yet surmountable problem in the United States, and especially in underserved communities such as Newark. Many people don't realize this type of undernutrition exists, but according to recent studies by Journal of Nutrition, more than half of American children do not get the average requirement of essential vitamins for healthy development. Moreover, deficiency has serious, long-term consequences because it impedes physical and mental growth. Undernourished children are more likely to suffer from illness as a child, and as a result, less likely to perform well in school.
The GHC fellows funded by DSM confront issues including:
- Micronutrient deficiency
- Access to healthcare
- Maternal and child health
"DSM believes that GHC's model of addressing global health challenges today, and creating the global health leaders of tomorrow, is one that has the capacity to genuinely change the world for the better. With our North American headquarters here in New Jersey, we're particularly pleased to be supporting these efforts here in our company's home state," said Hugh Welsh, President of DSM North America. "We firmly believe that providing nutritional equal opportunity can create brighter lives for this generation of Americans, and the generations to come."
Even in the wealthiest countries, shifting patterns of diet and lifestyle are leading to poor nutrition – while we know what we should eat, we often don't have the time or resources to eat meals that fully satisfy our nutritional needs.
"As a shelter for homeless youth, Covenant House New Jersey is confronted daily with young people suffering the effects of poor nutrition. Many of the youth we serve have subsisted almost exclusively on "comfort" food. As result, chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and obesity are common amongst our population. At Covenant House, we offer homeless and at-risk youth free health care to address some of these conditions, and provide them with three healthy meals, prepared on-site each day. Working with our Global Health Corp fellows, we also seek to impart to our young people the importance of proper diet and exercise and developing healthy habits that will carry them through adulthood," said Jim White, Executive Director of Covenant House.