Malnutrition has become a staggering problem on the planet at a time in history when the divide between the very wealthy and the very poor is wider than ever before. New research shows that malnourished kids still have hope beyond the first 1,000 days, reports Brigham Young University (BYU) on Dec. 10, 2013. It has been discovered in BYU research that early developmental damage in malnourished children is not irreversible
Malnutrition is associated with nearly 50 percent of all deaths in childhood, writes UNICEF. The cost for basic foods like rice, maize, wheat, oil, sugar and salt has been skyrocketing. This is resulting in large threats to food security across the world, therefore forcing millions of the world's poorest kids into severe malnourishment and starvation. Malnourished children are less able to fight off illness, less likely to do well in school, and they often become physically and mentally stunted. Malnutrition keeps kids trapped in the vicious cycle of deadly poverty.
Children who have been malnourished during their first 1,000 days of life have been said to often experience
developmental setbacks which affect them for the remainder of their life. Because of this philanthropic groups have funded massive global health initiatives to help impoverished infants and pregnant women around worldwide. This is a just cause, but unfortunately programs for children past the 1,000-day mark have been seen as having little hope, and there has therefore been less support for them. Now, new research from Brigham Young University suggests that global health workers should not give up on impoverished children after their first 1,000 days of life.
BYU health science assistant professor Ben Crookston and colleagues have found that the developmental damage of malnutrition in kids during the first 1,000 days is not irreversible. Crookston has acknowledged that although the first 1,000 days of life are extremely critical, programs which are aimed at helping children after that time still have a significant impact.
These findings support previous empirical evidence which suggests that the brain is a highly plastic organ with a remarkable ability to improve its function, even if interventions begin after exposure to nutritional problems during the first 1,000 days of life. Now we know to never give up trying to get enough nutrition to kids, regardless of their age. Good nutrition can essentially bring kids who are dying from malnutrition back to life.