Recognition of the importance of good nutrition in early childhood has
led to an increased acceptance of the ‘first 1000 days’ (from conception
through the second year of life) as a critical window of opportunity for
ensuring children have good health throughout life, with associated
benefits in other areas. There are powerful arguments to say that
investments made during this early period are both a foundation for
better long-term development and the most efficient point of
intervention to lessen the impacts of childhood poverty.
Early under-nutrition is reflected in children’s physical growth
trajectories, with early disadvantage stunting children’s development
from a very young age. However research from cohort studies is
increasingly identifying that children’s growth trajectories are not
fully fixed in infancy. Some children are able to recover from early
stunting, while others fall behind after an initial period of normal
growth. Understanding what determines changes in children’s post-infancy
growth gives insights into the patterns of development (and
interventions) which may foster more sustained healthy growth. This
brief summarises key evidence to date from a series of research studies
using Young Lives data to analyse children’s growth, and concludes by
drawing out implications for policy.
Dornan, P.; Georgiadis, A. Nutrition, Stunting and Catch-up Growth. Young Lives, ODID, Oxford, UK (2015) 6 pp.
Nutrition, Stunting and Catch-up Growth