The development of a child depends on a range of mutually interacting factors including genetic, individual (e.g., temperament and personality), biological (e.g., health and nutritional status), environmental (e.g., stimulation, quality of mother–child interaction), and cultural (access to education) influences.
Millions of children under 5 years of age in low and middle-income countries are failing to reach their potential in cognitive, language, and social emotional development, which has implications for their educational attainment and adult functioning. Poor levels of stimulation in the home, chronic undernutrition (stunting), and iron and iodine deficiencies are among the key risk factors.
Professionals have called for large-scale programs that integrate health, nutrition, and promotion of child development. Children acquire skills through interacting with people and objects in their environment. Stunted and iron-deficient children tend to have more passive behavior and limited exploration of their surroundings. It is possible that undernourished children could benefit more from stimulation when simultaneously given improved diets. World Health Organization recommends incorporating child development activities into the management of malnourished and sick children.
Some practical advantages to integrating interventions are that -the health and nutrition sectors are often the only services reaching children under 3 years of age. Furthermore, children with poor health and nutrition are also at risk of poor development.
“Early childhood nutritional interventions typically combine nutritional and psychosocial stimulation. Such combined interventions result in long-lasting improvements of cognitive abilities in children especially-those who are malnourished”. Pre- and post-intervention measurements, cognitive development and functioning, behavior, and mother-child interaction, are all recorded. According to a study done on children ———–the experimental and control group received nutritional supplementation in the form of a fortified or unfortified milk powder, respectively.
The experimental group compared to the control group displayed a significantly higher increase in intelligence quotient as well as a significantly larger reduction in attentional problems after the intervention. These results indicate that low-level cognitive stimulation in combination with nutritional supplementation during early childhood can be an effective intervention that improves global cognitive functioning in healthy developing children.
Our expert ‘EKAM’ Foundation’s mission is to — bring about an improvement in the health and well-being of the community, mother and child. EKAM recognizes that health, hygiene, nutrition, education and social development of children, are all connected. If efforts are targeted for them at all stages of their growth and development – as an infant, a child and as an adolescent, then we will see that children not only survive, but live in a thriving environment too.
So, let’s connect with Ekam at www.ekamoneness.com, for a Promising tomorrow.