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February 1, 2008

Better Childhood Nutrition Increases Economic Prosperity

A study published this week in The Lancet  showed a link between early childhood nutrition and economic prosperity later in live. From the International Food Policy Research Institute Press Release:

Washington, DC—Feeding very young children a high-energy, high-protein supplement leads to increased economic productivity in adulthood, especially for men, according to a study published in the current issue of The Lancet, a leading medical journal.

Boys who received the supplement, known as atole, in the first two years of life earned on average 46 percent higher wages as adults, while boys who received atole in their first three years earned 37 percent higher wages on average. Those who first received the supplement after age three did not gain any economic benefits as adults.

This study is the first to present direct evidence of the effects of early childhood nutrition programs on adult economic productivity and incomes. The research was conducted in Guatemala by Emory University, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama, the University of Pennsylvania, and Middlebury College.

Article: Effect of a nutrition intervention during early childhood on economic productivity in Guatemalan adults, The Lancet 2008; 371:411-416 (requires login but registration is free).

Reuters: http://africa.reuters.com/wire/news/usnL31352837.html

February 1, 2008 in Children, Food security, Scientific studies | Permalink

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