Nutrition of children increases productivity in adulthood: study

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New Delhi, Jan 31 (UNI) Feeding very young children a high-energy, high-protein supplement leads to increased economic productivity in adulthood, especially for men, according to a study.

The study published in the current issue of The Lancet, a leading medical journal, showed that boys who received the supplement, known as atole, in the first two years of life earned on average 46 per cent higher wages as adults, while boys who received atole in their first three years earned 37 per cent 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 programmes 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 .

The study confirms that the first two years of life are the window of opportunity when nutrition programmes have an enormous impact on a child's development, with life-long benefits, according to Reynaldo Martorell, Woodruff Professor of International Nutrition at Emory University .

From 1969-1977, four rural communities in Guatemala participated in a food supplementation study in which children received one of two supplements fortified equally with micronutrients. The first, atole, was high in protein and energy while the second contained no protein and was low in energy.

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