The initiative, which was announced recently, is focused on the critical first 1,000 days of life, which encompasses the time from conception through the first two years of life.  Vitamin Angels and its founder Howard Schiffer first started on this mission in 1994 by seeking to get a single critical megadose of vitamin A into young children after research showed this one intervention could foster healthy vision development and forestall future problems.

The mission has since expanded through partnerships like the one with Bayer into addressing a broad array of vitamin and mineral deficiencies that affect mothers and newborns alike.  Neonatal deficiencies can result in a host of issues beyond vision problems such as stunted growth and cognitive delays.  The value of the Bayer partnership, listed under the Bayer prenatal brand Elevit, is pegged at more than $4 million.

Mothers and babies most at risk

Mother and babies in underserved regions of the world are most at risk. According to Bayer, almost 50% of young women and adolescent girls in low- and middle-income countries have inadequate vitamin and mineral intake and at least half of children worldwide under age 5 suffer from this deficiency.  The consequences of vitamin and mineral deficiencies worsen gradually over time, resulting in significant health consequences across the lifespan and ultimately exacerbates the cycle of poverty.

.“As a leader and expert in supplemental nutrition, we know how important these nutrients are to help ensure health for all, particularly for vulnerable populations who need it most, like underserved women and children,”​ said Heiko Schipper, President of the Consumer Health Division of Bayer AG. “Having a healthy baby is a concern for every parent and parent-to-be everywhere around the world and through The Nutrient Gap Initiative, we plan on creating programs that will help give babies the best start in life today and for generations to come.”  

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