The 2017 Southeastern Iowa Synod Assembly adopted a resolution that directs the synod’s Commission for Church in Society to develop a strategy for building awareness about the proper nutritional requirements in the first 1,000 days of life, beginning with conception. This strategy ought to provide a list of resources that educate congregations about the nutritional needs in the first 1,000 days of life and specific suggestions as to how congregations may assist in improving the health and well-being of mothers and children during this critically important time.

As an anti-hunger synod, the Southeastern Iowa Synod recognizes that the first 1,000 days of life are the most critical for brain development. An adequate and nutritious diet and a loving and nurturing environment can make a difference in whether or not a person will be able to live up to their God-given potential. One in five children in Iowa and in the United States is food insecure; and there is little awareness of these facts in our congregations, in society as a whole.

Scientific research has shown that without proper food and nurture in the first five years of life, a child is already behind the minimum benchmarks when they get to kindergarten; and scientific research has shown that lack of adequate and nutritious food and a stressful or traumatic environment brings on more chronic illness later in life than the general population and earlier than the general population. We encourage congregations to use the resources compiled below in their ministry efforts to help improve the health and wellness of mothers and children during the first 1,000 days.