In an increasingly global world, the quality and competence of future populations hinge on the development of children born today. Nearly 220 million children in developing countries below age 5 are estimated to be at risk developmentally. Poverty, poor health and nutrition, and lack of stimulation have devastating and lifelong effects that are transmitted across generations. Early child development programs, which integrate nutrition, stimulation, and care, assure healthy development for children ages 0-7, especially those at risk. Investing in these programs may be the most important action the world can take to ensure its future vitality.