Holt, Bethany; Kaviani, Nayereh; Sheth, Mehul; van Driel, Mieke
Background: One of the greatest challenges in healthcare today is dealing with a growing burden of multimorbid chronic diseases in an aging population. Awareness is growing that a healthy start in life plays a critical role in reversing this trend, especially for young women, pregnant mothers, and children in their first 2 years of life.; Methods: We reviewed the international literature on early childhood nutrition and development, based on the landmark Lancet series on maternal and child nutrition and child development, and World Health Organization reports.; Results: Contemporary literature points to the importance of strategies that focus on early childhood for enhancing both health and socioeconomic outcomes. We discuss programs and initiatives that aim to improve the health of mothers and children at a global level, with a focus on high-income countries such as Australia and the United States.; Conclusion: Tackling the epidemic of chronic diseases requires a comprehensive life course approach that must include pregnant women and their young children. Healthcare systems and professionals play an important role. The health and well-being of the next generation must be everyone's business.