Poverty Readings (Advocacy for Improving Nutrition in the First 1000 Days…
Advocacy for Improving Nutrition in the First 1000 Days to Support Childhood Development and Adult Health
Healthy, normal neurodevelopment is a complex process involving cellular and structural changes in the brain that proceed in a specified sequence.
Most important period of opportunity for neurodevelopment and vulnerability is the period of fetal life and the first 2 years postpartum.
Nutritional environment has an effect on whether brain growth and differentiation proceed normally or abnormally.
Better nourished children did better in school later
Obesity can poorly effect children's nutrition and learning.
There are many programs to help with supplying food: SNAP, WIC, CACFP, food pantries, soup kitchens, Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program, and the Baby friendly Hospital Initiative.
Brief Adverse Childhood Experiences
Adverse Childhood Experiences are potentially traumatic events that can have negative, lasting effects on health and well being.
Can be physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, parental divorce, or incarceration of a parent or guardian.
Economic hardship is the most common adverse childhood experience (ACE) reported nationally and in almost all states, followed by divorce or separation of a parent or guardian.
Abuse of alcohol or drugs, exposure to neighborhood violence, and the occurrence of mental illness are among the most commonly-reported adverse childhood experiences in every state.
Just under half (46 percent) of children in the U.S. have experienced at least one ACE.
Divorce is the second-most-common ACE experienced by children in each age group.
The First 1000 Days of Life: The Brain's Window of Opportunity
The first 1,000 days of life - the time spanning roughly between conception and one’s second birthday - is a unique period of opportunity when the foundations of optimum health, growth, and neurodevelopment across the lifespan are established.
As a species, we have come from a history of "malnutrition" being synonymous with "undernutrition" - the serious lack of obtaining even adequate amounts of nutrition. In the modern era, while undernutrition remains the major challenge worldwide, we humans are now faced with the negative effects of "overnutrition" in the form of obesity and risky nutrition in the form of unbalanced diets or diets contaminated with potential toxins. Each of these conditions can be considered "malnutrition" in the true sense of the word’s roots (bad nutrition) and each has been shown to potentially reduce brain development.
The brain is not a homogenous organ, but instead consists of multiple separate regions, each with a unique growth trajectory, that ultimately interconnect to make the complex organ that drives behavior.
While the human brain continues to develop and change throughout life, the most rapid period of brain growth and its period of highest plasticity is in the last trimester of pregnancy and the first two years of life.
Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world.
The science suggests that it is far better policy to build the brain right in the first place through nutritional deficit prevention programs than to depend on replacement therapy once a deficit has occurred. Feeding the fetal, newborn, and young child brain is one of the best ways we can achieve this goal.
Basic Facts About Low-Income Children
$20,000 for a family of 4.
$16,600 for a family of 3.
$13,200 for a family of 2.
There are 73 million children in the United States
39%—28.4 million—live in low-income families.
18%—12.8 million—live in poor families.
51% of children in low-income families—14.6 million—live with a single parent.
49% of children in low-income families—13.8 million—live with married parents.
Does the percent of children in low-income families vary by race/ethnicity?
61% of Latino children—8.8 million—live in low-income families.
28% of Asian children—0.8 million—live in low-income families.
61% of black children—6.5 million—live in low-income families.
26% of white children—11.1 million—live in low-income families.
How Nutrition During the First 1000 Days Shapes the Rest of a Child's Life
And the top vegetable a toddler in the U.S. eats is a french fry.
A quarter of toddler don’t receive enough iron, one in five children are obese, one in six households with children are food- insecure, and more than half of infants participate in the federal Women, Infants, and Children program for Supplemental nutrition.
Failure to provide key nutrients during this critical period of brain development may result in lifelong deficits in brain function despite subsequent nutrient repletion
We take nutrition for granted in the U.S. because we think there is this abundance of food and children are of course going to get fed