By: Mandana Mofidi
A first of its kind, a new Facebook game called The Thousand Days has been designed to raise awareness about the importance of nutrition for pregnant mothers and babies during the first 1,000 days of life. According to a growing body of research, the first 1,000 days of a child's life - the nine months in the womb and the first two years out in the world - play an incredibly pivotal role in health throughout life. Chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and malnutrition can all be caused by what happens in utero.
The game is an opportunity for players to learn how to save lives in 1,000 days through a series of informing, entertaining mini games that teach about proper nutrition for newborns and adults, government regulations and NGOs. Throughout the game, users are given the opportunity to extend beyond the confines of the virtual world and are encouraged to connect with organization doing groundbreaking work in maternal health around the world.
A partner of the Million Moms Challenge, Thousand Days is a collaborative project designed in with a leading organization helping to eradicate global malnutrition, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), and by the University of Southern California's Institute for Global Health and School of Cinematic Arts.
"It's always a balance between fun and education in games that are really out there to make change," Dr. Heather Wipfli, a key developer of the game, told ABC News. "We are having a real impact on families while you're entertaining yourself through these really simple, addictive mini-games…you're actually having an impact as well."
As the Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine and International Relations and Associate Director of the USC Institute for Global Health, Dr. Wipfli oversaw the design. Watch her explain the game further here:
Every year 3.5 million young children die of undernutrition. In an effort to break the cycle of poverty in families, communities and countries, Secretary Hilary Clinton is leading a public-private partnership called 1,000 Days that works with governments and leading organizations to ensure that mothers and young children get the necessary vitamins, healthy foods and information they need to survive and thrive. Secretary Clinton's commitment to engage the global community in tackling undernutrition is described here in a interview with 1,000 Days.