Stunting is the nutritional indicator most consistently correlated with children's mental development. In Third World countries stunting is usually associated with poor development in young children, and delayed neurosensory integration, low IQ and school achievement in older children. Moreover, stunting in young children predicts poor later development. Generally, when social background is controlled for, the association between stunting and poor development remains. In a recent Jamaican study, nutritional supplementation given to stunted children for 2 years produced an improvement in psychomotor development. Supplementation and linear growth had shared and independent effects on change in development. There was also a significant relationship between change in development and growth over the 2 year period. It is therefore probably that at least part of the poor development found in stunted children is due to poor nutrition.
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- mental development