Women who take vitamins during pregnancy appear to boost their child’s cognitive abilities at age 9-12 by up to a year of schooling, according to a study by a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health investigator and an international team of researchers.
The researchers also found nurturing during early life, happy moms, and educated parents played a positive role in child development.
“No one on the team had anticipated the extent to which social and environmental factors would exceed biological factors as the determinants of cognitive function — 2- to 3-fold by some measurements. This work has global implications as countries are currently planning how to achieve the global Sustainable Development Goals with targets for improved childhood development,” co-principal investigator Anuraj Shankar, senior research scientist in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard Chan School and senior author, said in a statement.
Read the press release: Maternal micronutrients, nurturing environment boost child development
Studies explore micronutrients’ effects in pregnant women and their children (Harvard Chan press release)
One-third of children in low- and middle-income countries fail to reach developmental milestones (Grand Challenges Canada and Harvard Chan press release)
Cost of poor child growth in developing world: $177B in lost wages for children born each year (Grand Challenges Canada and Harvard Chan press release)
Top risk for child stunting in developing world: poor growth before birth (Grand Challenges Canada and Harvard Chan press release)