BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – Local community leaders gained insight from an internationally-known expert on hunger today

Catherine Bertini of Homer is the managing Director of Global Nutrition Security at the Rockefeller Foundation.

She spoke to a meeting of the Binghamton University Forum at the DoubleTree Hotel in Binghamton.

Bertini once oversaw the food stamps and WIC programs for the USDA, and spent a decade as the Executive Director of the World Food Program.

She believes everyone has a role to play in combating hunger, through actions and knowledge.

One of her biggest points of emphasis is the importance of quality nutrition at the start of life, from the womb until 2 years-old.

Bertini says, “If that child does not have adequate nutrition, then she or he can never be as strong and healthy as other children who have. And it affects our workforce, it affects our community development, it affects the whole community’s ability to grow because it leaves behind many adults who never had the right kind of food.”

Bertini also says there needs to be continued education for people about the impacts diet can have on chronic non-communicable diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.