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Good nutrition is not only fuel for strong bodies, it also provides power that unlocks potential. This was a lesson I learned from 18-year-old Alima Mbaye, who lives in Thiès, Senegal. Alima and her friends were at a point in their lives where their future and their potential should have been limitless. Instead, malnutrition - and in this case, anemia - was like a brake holding them back.
In Canada, many pregnant moms have the excitement of tracking their baby's development in the womb week-by-week. In many parts of the world, this scenario is completely different. In places like Zambia, the weeks leading up to pregnancy are a montage of mysterious symptoms and, sometimes, tragic consequences. A global lack of proper nutrition and healthcare during pregnancy contributes to many of the 15 million babies that are born preterm on a yearly basis.
Reducing anemia in adolescents is often motivated by efforts and interests to improve maternal and newborn health for pregnant adolescents. However, when we truly understand the consequences of anemia throughout a woman's life, the benefits of reducing it to improve adolescent school performance and productivity at work cannot be ignored.