Good Nutrition and Child Development

Posted by awc29a on February 14th, 2018

Studies have shown that poor diet can negatively influence early childhood development. Particularly regarding the development of social behaviors early in childhood. Poor nutrition does not only influence physical health but also social health and positive social behaviors. There are a lot of factors in social behavior that have to be considered such as mental health and well-being.

A recent study from the University of Pennsylvania published in the journal Maternal & Child Nutrition examined 1,795 three year olds from an island off the eastern coast of Africa. The children were specifically monitored for four different characteristics of physical health including protein intake, iron deficiency, anemia (described as low hemoglobin levels) and angular stomatitis (lack of vitamin B2 and niacin).

The study revealed that those who were lacking in two of those characteristics of physical health had impaired social behaviors. Social behavior was broken down and observed on a rating scale from friendliness, extent of verbalization, active social play and exploratory behavior. Afterwards, good nutrition and social development were compared.

Doctors came to the conclusion that providing proper nutrition early on in a child’s development could not only enhance cognitive functioning and support good social behavior, but also contribute to overall higher IQ levels.

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