Nutrition-Based Approaches to Early Childhood Development

Aisha K. Yousafzai, Mohammad Y. Yakoob and Zulfiqar A. Bhutta

in Handbook of Early Childhood Development Research and Its Impact on Global Policy

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199922994
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980420 | DOI:
Nutrition-Based Approaches to Early Childhood Development

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Undernutrition during pregnancy and early childhood is a major public health issue in low- and middle-income countries, accounting for 35% of all child deaths. For every child who survives, persistent malnutrition can have serious, sometimes irreparable, consequences on development. This chapter presents the burden and impact of nutritional risk factors in mothers and children for child underdevelopment and discusses the effects of complications like low birth weight/intrauterine growth restriction and stunting on child development. A life-cycle approach to mitigate these risks is described, particularly food and health care in adolescent girls and pregnancy, birth spacing, micronutrient supplementation, exclusive breastfeeding promotion, and social safety nets for children, with special emphasis on integrated nutrition and psychosocial stimulation. Recommendations for health policies and programs in developing countries are made, and knowledge gaps in this field are highlighted. We conclude that an approach in which nutrition is integrated with a broader package of family-based services is effective in improving early child development.

Keywords: undernutrition; pregnancy; childhood; iron; iodine; stunting; low birth weight; breastfeeding; supplementation; stimulation

Chapter.  9343 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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