Walker, Susan P.; Chang, Susan M.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Tropical Medicine Research Institute
Undernutrition in early Childhood: Jamaican studies on the concurrent and long term effects of child development
Caribbean childhoods: From research to action: Journal of the children's issues coalition
Date of Publication
Childhood undernutrition remains extremely prevalent in many developing countries. A series of studies conducted in Jamaica has been critical in defining the impact on concurrent and future child development and the benefit of nutritional and psychosocial interventions. Severely malnourished children were shown to have long term deficits in IQ compared with adequately nourished children and benefits form a programme of psychosocial stimulation remained in adolescence. The development of stunted (low height for age) children was also shown to be significantly below that of non-stunted children from the same poor neighbourhoods. Nutritional supplementation and psychosocial stimulation independently had significant benefits to the children's development and children who received both interventions attained the same developmental levels as the non-stunted children at the end of a two year programme. Significant benefits remained from stimulation but not supplementation. A coordinated approach to improve both nutrition and the level of stimulation in the home is needed to promote optimal development in early childhood and beyond.....