The PepsiCo Foundation and Inter-American Development Bank have announced the launch of a five-year program designed to prevent undernutrition and reduce the risk of obesity in infants in Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, and Peru.
Funded by a $5 million grant from the foundation, the Sustained Program to Improve Nutrition (SPOON) will focus on improving infant feeding practices and promoting the use of a nutritional supplement that contains vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids children need during their first six to twenty-four months of life — a period critical to a child's growth and the prevention of lifelong obesity. Announced in anticipation of World Food Day, the project, which will be implemented in collaboration with local partners, including the health ministries of participating countries and nonprofit organizations such as Fundación Saldarriaga Concha, Fundazucar, and Federico Gomez Children's Hospital of Mexico, will work to develop a behavioral change strategy to encourage parents and caregivers to adopt healthy feeding habits and will integrate its nutrition efforts into existing health services for pregnant women and babies.
"Undernutrition and obesity-related health problems are rising sharply in Latin America, and they place a growing burden on our healthcare systems and budgets," said IDB president Luis Alberto Moreno. "Ensuring that infants get proper nutrition to grow and become healthy and productive adults is our shared responsibility. By participating in the SPOON Project, PepsiCo Foundation is making a great contribution toward our efforts to become a healthier region."