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Nutrition and cognition in children

This question was posted the Other thematic area forum area and has 5 replies.

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Normal user

1 Jul 2016, 00:24

Dear all,

What are the current issues regarding nutrition and cognitive abilities of children in especially in Africa, as it seems this continent has not seen much of the work done in this subject area? What are the very obvious gaps that require filling? I am thinking of doing some work in this area but not certain on which aspects. Please any recent reviews that has been done regarding this topic area will be of help.
Every input is of importance and welcomed.
Thank you.

Dr Charulatha Banerjee

Regional Knowledge Management Specialist Asia ENN

Normal user

4 Jul 2016, 06:17

This article was just published in The Lancet Global Health- A longitudinal study on responsive stimulation and nutrition interventions on children's development in Pakistan. The article in turn should lead you to more resources. But as you said looks like this aspect has not been researched in Africa.

Hope this helps

Elizabeth Prado

UC Davis

Normal user

5 Jul 2016, 16:28

These recent papers cite studies on this topic that have been conducted in Africa:

Prado EL, Dewey KG. Nutrition and brain development in early life. Nutrition Reviews 2014;72(4):267-84. doi: 10.1111/nure.12102.

Sudfeld CR, McCoy DC, Danaei G, Fink G, Ezzati M, Andrews KG, Fawzi WW. Linear growth and child development in low- and middle-income countries: a meta-analysis. Pediatrics 2015;135(5):e1266-75. doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-3111.

A large team of researchers led by Kay Dewey at UC Davis has recently completed four randomized trials providing lipid-based nutrient supplements to pregnant women and infants in Malawi, Ghana, and Burkina Faso. The studies showed mixed results on 18-month motor, language, socio-emotional, and executive function, with positive effects of the intervention in Burkina Faso, but not Malawi or Ghana.

Two of the papers reporting the developmental outcomes have been published, and two are in press.

Prado, E. L., Phuka, J., Maleta, K., Ashorn, P., Ashorn, U., Vosti, S. A., & Dewey, K. G. (In Press). Provision of lipid-based nutrient supplements from age 6 to 18 months does not affect infant development scores in a randomized trial in Malawi. Maternal & Child Health.

Prado, E. L., Adu-Afarwuah S., Lartey A., Ocansey M., Ashorn P., Vosti S. A., & Dewey, K. G. (In Press). Effects of pre- and post-natal lipid-based nutrient supplements on infant development in Ghana. Early Hum Dev.

Prado, E. L., Abbeddou, S., Yakes Jimenez, E., Somé, J. W., Ouédraogo, Z. P., Vosti, S. A., et al. (2016). Lipid-based nutrient supplements plus malaria and diarrhea treatment increase infant development scores in a cluster-randomized trial in Burkina Faso. Journal of Nutrition. (Epub ahead of print)

Prado, E. L., Maleta, K., Ashorn, P., Ashorn, U., Vosti, S. A., Sadalaki, J., & Dewey, K. G. (2016). Effects of maternal and child lipid-based nutrient supplements on infant development: a randomized trial in Malawi. Am J Clin Nutr, 103(3), 784-793.


Normal user

6 Jul 2016, 09:36

Thank you Dr Charulatha Banerjee and Elizabeth Prado. I really appreciate your responses and support.


Lecturer - Human Nutrition, Moi University

Normal user

20 Jul 2016, 09:21

HI all,
Yes, very little has been done on child nutrition and cognition in Africa and i took the battle and currently am doing a research the same. I am finalizing my data collection and hope to share my results once i analyse the data. But preliminary results show that mothers know very little on importance of nutrition on cognitive development in children especially in the first 1,000 days of life. I could also wish to know more through this forum.

Judy Canahuati


Normal user

22 Jul 2016, 00:45

If you look at the WB report on "Repositioning Nutrition as Central to Development" which subsequently gave rise to SUN, it is clear on the role of nutrition in relation to educability and adult productivity. It seems to me that in most of our countries the approach to nutrition and particularly to breastfeeding totally ignores the relationship of nutrition to human development, focusing instead on the health benefits without linking these benefits to growth and development of the child. In community work I have seen that understanding this relationship is a powerful tool for engagement of the entire community in developing strategies for providing support for good maternal and infant and young child nutrition. When we talk about the impacts of stunting, we aren't thinking that the issue is really about brain development. I think that if our communities understood this relationship better they would be more proactive in providing time, space and support to mothers to breastfeed and adequately feed themselves and their children, pay more attention to preventing illness and reducing the impacts of mycotoxins, all of which impact on children's growth and development.

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