During the 30 minutes it will take you to read this article, 360 preschool children will die of hunger and malnutrition. Twelve a minute, around the clock; more than six million a year. But that is only the tip of the proverbial and ugly iceberg. One in four preschoolers in developing countries suffers from hunger and nutritional deficiencies. These children do not grow to their full potential, they have little resistance to disease, they learn less in school and they earn less as adults. Because of low birth weight, they are handicapped from the moment they enter the world.

More than 800 million people—two and a half times the population of the U.S.—live every day with hunger, or “food insecurity,” as it is often called, as their constant companion. Many more have micronutrient deficiencies: they do not get essential vitamins or minerals in their diets. Insufficient iron, and the anemia that comes with it, is the most widespread of these maladies.