why early childhood care is more important and why we should not ignore it?


why early childhood care is far more important than later stage care, why children deserve better attention from our policy makers and leaders of our society. why fifty per cent malnutrition among children is not some thing we can make a political football. Stress at early stage can cause irreversible disadvantage. some times, though there are examples where these stresses brought out the best in such people but i assume that those cases are exceptions.

a study which deserves careful attention of all those concerned with health, child care, giving children their due, making child nutrition priority number one. Absurd polices like Universal food subsidy will never address these targeted problems. Children need different kind of nutrition mix,not just grains. When i write in 1984 why coop milk movement was not paying attention to local milk consumption, i was told that pulses were cheaper source of protein than milk. This was not true then and it is not true now. awake india, awake, children deserve it.

I have drawn implications obviously beyond the scope of this limited study.
also see


Infant Malnutrition Increases Attention Deficits in Later Life

May 14th, 2012

Famine and hunger are worldwide concerns. Nations that have faced droughts, economic hardship, and other conditions that affect access to nutritionally balanced meals have high rates of childhood malnutrition. In previous years, malnutrition has been linked to a host of medical and psychological problems, such as mood problems, antisocial tendencies, and academic difficulties. Protein and iron deficiencies have also been found to increase the risk of attention deficits and hyperactivity. But in recent years, advances in outreach programs have provided rehabilitation to children who were once malnourished. These efforts have significantly improved the physical well-being of these at-risk children, yet there is less information about the long-term effects of childhood malnourishment.

To address this void, Janini R. Galler of the Judge Baker Children’s Center at the Harvard Medical School in Boston recently analyzed data from a 40-year-long study on malnourished children. The subjects were Barbados-born children who had been hospitalized for malnutritionin the first year of life. Galler compared these subjects with other children with no history of malnutrition and found that the malnourished children, even though they had been nutritionally rehabilitated, had rates of inattention that were four times that of the nutritionally stable children. She also discovered that the malnourished children had higher levels of cognitiveimpairment, academic difficulties, and motor-skill problems than the control subjects.

The most striking findings of this study were that attention problems were persistent throughout the 40 years. Specifically, children who had been identified as attention impaired by teachers in adolescence continued to exhibit attention deficits into adulthood, according to self-reports. Galler believes these findings are critical to improving the quality of life of children who experience malnutrition. Given that malnourishment is commonly found in children with exposure to poverty, maternal depression, and economic hardship, early interventions could help these children avoid future problems with psychological distress, learning problems, mood issues, and drug and alcohol dependence, issues that often co-occur in adults with attention deficits. Galler added, “As more children survive infantile malnutrition, with improved access to medical care and rehabilitation, the lifelong consequences for behavior and mental health outcomes are of growing concern.”

Galler, J. R., Bryce, C. P., Zichlin, M. L., Fitzmaurice, G., Eaglesfield, G. D., Waber, D. P. (2012). Infant malnutrition is associated with persisting attention deficits in middle adulthood. Journal of Nutrition, 142.4, 788-794.

Long-Term Impact of Health and Nutrition Status on Education Outcomes for Children in Rural Tanzania                                                                             November 2010 JEL Classification Code: I0                                                        LUCIA LUZI, PhD                                                                                                         UNICEF IRC, 12, P.zza della SS. Annunziata, 50122 Florence, Italy            lucia.luzi@unive.it

This paper investigates the long-term effects of malnutrition presented by individuals during early childhood on subsequent education attainment of young adults living in a rural area of Tanzania. The data used are of an exclusive long term panel data set collected in the Kagera Health and Development Survey. Infants born in the early Nineties are traced and interviewed in 2004. To perform the main objective of the work, any attrition due to family or environmental characteristics is removed by differencing among siblings. Additionally, a broad investigation on weather conditions during infancy is conduced, in order to attain the instruments to face the existing endogeneity proper of the health variable. By comparing the anthropometric measures of a Tanzanian preschooler with those of a child in a wealthy reference country, estimation results show that malnutrition and poor health experienced during early childhood have long term effects on her human capital growth. More precisely, improving child health status, she would have an additional 28% probability of completing primary education. This result emerges if the two districts laying on the western board, where the refugees escaped from the genocides of Burundi and Rwanda in the early Nineties, are excluded from the analysis. The possibility of a strong connection between nutrition and schooling in developing countries is of growing importance; the analysis presented in this work makes progress in sorting out such a casual relationship. Impact of Adversity On Early Life Development Demonstrated ScienceDaily (Oct. 25, 2012) — It is time to put the nature versus nurture debate to rest and embrace growing evidence that it is the interaction between biology and environment in early life that influences human development, according to a series of studies recently published in a special edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

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“Biologists used to think that our differences are pre-programmed in our genes, while psychologists argued that babies are born with a blank slate and their experience writes on it to shape them into the adults they become. Instead, the important question to be asking is, \’How is our experience in early life getting embedded in our biology?\'” says University of Toronto behavioural geneticist Marla Sokolowski. She is co-editor of the PNAS special edition titled “Biological Embedding of Early Social Adversity: From Fruit Flies to Kindergarteners” along with professors Tom Boyce (University of British Columbia) and Gene Robinson (University of Illinois).

Sokolowski, who is a University Professor in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology (EEB), the inaugural academic director of Uof T\’s Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development and co-director of the Experience-based Brain and Biological Development Program (EBBD) at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) says that relatively little is known about the gene-environment interplay that underlies the impact of early life adversity on adult health and behaviour.

In one of the studies in the series, Sokolowski and her colleagues found that chronic food deprivation and lack of adequate nutrition in the early life of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster had significant impact on adult behaviour and quality of life. Fruit flies are especially useful for genetic studies because they share a surprising number of qualities with humans, are inexpensive to care for and reproduce rapidly, allowing for several generations to be studied in just a few months.

The researchers examined two types of fruit flies with variants in the foraging gene (for) known as rovers and sitters because of their different behaviours in the presence of food.

When well fed as larvae, rover adults exhibit darting exploration into open areas as they move about in search of food, while sitters show little of this behaviour. When nutritionally deprived as larvae, both rover and sitter adults exhibit darting exploration. Further, the sitters that faced nutritional adversity in early life displayed a reduction in their ability to reproduce. Rovers exhibited no effect on their reproductive fitness.

“The foraging gene makes an enzyme called PKG, which is found in the fly as well as in most other organisms, including humans. When faced with a nutritionally adverse environment while growing up, the levels of the enzyme dropped in flies,” says Sokolowski. “This told us that the foraging gene listens to its environment.” Transgenic manipulations of PKG levels altered darting exploration in well fed but not nutritionally deprived flies.

The research team included James Burns, a CIFAR junior fellow in Sokolowski\’s lab, U of T EEB professor Locke Rowe and EEB post-doctoral fellow Nicolas Svetec, as well as colleagues from the Universitiy of British Columbia and the Université Paris-Sud. The findings are reported in the October 16, 2012 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

The papers in the volume are authored largely by CIFAR researchers, and comprise a multidisciplinary collection of research into fields from molecular genetics, evolutionary biology and neuroscience, to social and behavioural science, epidemiology and social policy — as well as the emerging field of epigenetics, which investigates deviations in a gene\’s ability to produce its products (e.g. RNA, protein) caused by mechanisms other than changes in an organism\’s underlying DNA sequence.

The collection of papers in the volume sets out an emerging new field of the developmental science of childhood adversity, and changes conventional understanding of the early years of human life.

“This is the first volume of collected research to provide a substantial and comprehensive picture of the interaction between experience and biology in the early years,” says Sokolowski.

“Developmental neuroscience is extraordinarily intricate and complex, and so by approaching this question from multiple angles we\’re able to reveal a convergence on a number of themes and set a clearer direction for future research.”

Anil K Gupta