Dissertation Research: Environmental Stimulation as Mediator Between Undernutrition and Childhood Performance inPoverty Environments
Jonathan S. Friedlaender Program Manager
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Chronic malnutrition affects children living in poverty and can result in deficits in cognitive development and limit school performance. As such, chronic malnutrition in childhood positively correlates with later health, growth attained and economic success as an adult. Child development may be modified by a number of factors other than malnutrition, including aspects of family life. This research will investigate the relationship between insufficient nutrition, poverty, school performance and the mechanisms by which family practices can mediate these effects. Multiple measures of childhood functioning will be utilized to validate the results. The study site will be in rural Belize. It is hypothesized that 1) children exhibiting the effects of chronic undernutrition will perform less well by a number of criteria than the better nourished; 2) that, while children of higher socioeconomic status will perform better than the lower SES children, 3) within an SES children whose families provide stimulation will perform better than others. Both general and local practices which contribute to social and intellectual development will be documented.