British Medical Journal
September 14th, 2015
Research increasingly indicates the importance of the nutritional programming that occurs in the first 2–3 years of life. Quality nutrition during this brief window has been shown to have large and significant effects on health and development throughout childhood and even into adulthood. Despite the widespread understanding of this critical window, and the long-term consequences of leaving nutritional deficiencies unaddressed, little is known about the status of infant nutrition in rural China, or about the relationship between infant nutrition and cognitive development in rural China.
We found that 48.8% of sample infants were anaemic, 3.7% were stunted, 1.2% were underweight and 1.6% were wasted. Approximately 20.0% of the sample infants were significantly delayed in their cognitive development, while just over 32.3% of the sample infants were significantly delayed in their psychomotor development. After controlling for potential confounders, infants with lower haemoglobin counts were significantly more likely to be delayed in both their cognitive (p<0.01) and psychomotor development (p<0.01).