From The Vancouver Sun, writer Louisa Taylor introduces us to Sprinkles and it's creator.
“This is really exciting,” says Henk-Jan Brinkman as he pulls a small silver package from the breast pocket of his elegant dark blue suit. What’s exciting is not so much the scores of tiny sprinkles inside the foil package, but what those sprinkles can do, and for whom.
One third of all children around the world die before their fifth birthday because of malnutrition, most of them in Africa and other parts of the developing world. In many cases, their parents can afford to give them food, but it is far from adequate to meet their vitamin and mineral needs.
Enter Sprinkles, and other micronutrient powders now distributed by the UN and non-governmental organizations. Shake them over cooked maize or corn meal, and they won’t change the colour or taste of the food, but they will add a potent boost of iron and essential vitamins to prevent anemia, the most common nutrient deficiency.
Brinkman, an economist and senior adviser with the UN’s World Food Program, said studies have tracked children into adulthood and found striking differences in income between those who received adequate nutrition in their earliest days, and those who did not.
“Research shows us that there is a window of opportunity of about 1,000 days — from conception up to two years old — where nutrition is absolutely critical to healthy brain and body development,” said Brinkman.
“It has helped us focus on improving food, making sure people have not just food to eat but high quality food, and the right food for their needs.”