Under-nutrition contributes to more than half of the approximately 9 million childhood deaths that occur annually. Stunted growth due to malnutrition affects 150 million children worldwide and is associated with adverse cognitive development in childhood and adolescence, delayed entrance into school, fewer years of schooling, decreased productivity, and reduced adult stature. Stunted children are less likely than their non-stunted counterparts to enroll in school; those who do enroll have lower grades and poorer cognition. The CGHD has been involved in several studies of micronutrient fortification at the community level, in schools, and in daycare centers, with the goal of improving child nutrition, strengthening immune systems, and reducing risk of common infectious diseases. The CGHD has also carried out research on the potential for growth recovery and whether children who recover from early stunting demonstrate the same levels of cognition as children who are not stunted in infancy and childhood. Results from Peru suggest children who have catch-up growth are not necessarily at a disadvantage. While these findings are from one study in one country (Peru), they suggest that the window of opportunity for making a difference in children’s lives extends beyond the first two years.
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