Socio-economic gradients in child development in very young children: Evidence from India, Indonesia, Peru and Senegal


Lia Fernald, Melissa Hidrobo, Patricia Kariger, Paul Gertler


child development, child growth, childhood nutrition, early childhood intervention, economic interventions, income inequality, low income countries, poverty


Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS)

Year Published:


Policy Summary

Evidence from nutrition and early childhood research suggests that intervening before (rather than during) the preschool years is more effective for preventing some of the health and developmental deficits associated with poverty. There is also a strong economic argument for intervening as early as possible, preferably during the prenatal period. The findings in this study point to the critical importance of larger-scale structural and economic interventions that could enable greater participation in formal schooling and the labor force, which would then allow parents to provide a better environment for their children through improvements in the home or purchase of and appropriate use of goods that influence child growth and development.

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