The realisation of human potential for development requires age-specific investment throughout the 8000 days of childhood and adolescence. Focus on the first 1000 days is an essential but insufficient investment. Intervention is also required in three later phases: the middle childhood growth and consolidation phase (5–9 years), when infection and malnutrition constrain growth, and mortality is higher than previously recognised; the adolescent growth spurt (10–14 years), when substantial changes place commensurate demands on good diet and health; and the adolescent phase of growth and consolidation (15–19 years), when new responses are needed to support brain maturation, intense social engagement, and emotional control. Two cost-efficient packages, one delivered through schools and one focusing on later adolescence, would provide phase-specific support across the life cycle, securing the gains of investment in the first 1000 days, enabling substantial catch-up from early growth failure, and leveraging improved learning from concomitant education investments.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
SH reports a grant from the University of Washington for research assistance. DAPB reports being employed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which funds DCP3. All other authors declare no competing interests.
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