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I'm curious to know if any studies have looked beyond catch-up growth as measured by height-for-age and considered whether, despite the catch-up, children's cognitive development is still impaired due to malnutrition during the 1,000-day window.

17/07/2014 21:30:43

Hi Yesenia, That's a great question. There are few studies which look at this question but very few conclusive studies. In some (observational) panel based work, especially from the Young Lives study, there are indications that physical catch-up is also associated with catch-up in cognitive tests (see Crookston et. al. AJCN 2013 above) and, in Peru that children who caught-up displayed similar cognitive functioning as non-stunted children at 5 years of age (See Crookston et. al. 2010, AJCN above). These are however, associational studies and cannot make causal claims. However, the only experimental study that I know of (Barnham et. al. 2013 AER:P&P above) finds that children exposed later in childhood to a cash transfer program caught up in height-for-age but not in cognition. It is unclear (to me, at least) whether the experiment is adequately powered to be able to detect cognitive catch-up since, with a sample of only about 400 children, clustered in ~40 communities, and presumably with only some proportion of the sample stunted to begin with. They do find physical catch-up but perhaps the power requirements for seeing cognitive catch-up are higher than the data can provide? In any case, I don't think anyone seriously debates that early prevention of stunting is preferable to later remediation. The only thing that I wanted to highlight was that the possibility of remediation is not zero and, at least in this one case, we can see some evidence of policy assisting catch-up growth.

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25/08/2014 18:57:16

Childhood malnutrition is in fact a serious concern in India which leads to multiple deficiencies and restricted growth of children in many aspects. Thanks for the wonderful share. People do need to be aware!

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02/12/2014 03:37:47

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