Child development outcomes at 2 to 2 and a half years metrics: 2017 to 2018

The latest statistics for child development outcomes have been published by Public Health England  (PHE) which collects data submitted by local authorities.

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The data is collected from the health visitor reviews completed at 2 to 2 and a half years using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire 3 (ASQ-3).

The metrics presented are ‘the percentage of children who were at or above the expected level’ in these areas of development:

  • communication skills
  • gross motor skills
  • fine motor skills
  • problem solving skills
  • personal-social skills
  • all five areas of development

The  data table and statistical commentary  are available

Guidance on using these statistics and other resources can also be found here

 

Eggs can significantly increase growth in young children

Eggs significantly increased growth and reduced stunting by 47 percent in young children, finds a new study from a leading expert on child nutrition | ScienceDaily

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Eggs significantly increased growth and reduced stunting by 47 percent in young children, finds a new study from a leading expert on child nutrition at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. This was a much greater effect than had been shown in previous studies.

Eggs were shown to increase standardized length-for-age score and weight-for-age score. Models indicated a reduced prevalence of stunting by 47 percent and underweight by 74 percent. Children in the treatment group had higher dietary intakes of eggs and reduced intake of sugar-sweetened foods compared to control.

The association between weight, height, and head circumference reconsidered

Scheffler, K. et al. (2017) Pediatric Research. Published online: 1 March 2017

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Background: Under normal nutritional and health conditions, body height, weight and head circumference are significantly related. We hypothesize that the apparent general association between weight, height, and head circumference of the growing child might be misleading.

 

Conclusion: Under appropriate nutritional and health circumstances, nutritional status, body size, and head circumference are not related.

Read the full abstract here

Potential benefits of mindfulness during pregnancy

Braeken, M. et al. (2017) Psychophysiology. 54(2) pp. 279-288

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Mindfulness is known to decrease psychological distress. Possible benefits in pregnancy have rarely been explored. Our aim was to examine the prospective association of mindfulness with autonomic nervous system function during pregnancy and with later infant social-emotional development.

Mindfulness in pregnancy was associated with ANS changes likely to be adaptive and with better social-emotional offspring development. Interventions to increase mindfulness during pregnancy might improve maternal and offspring health, but randomized trials are needed to demonstrate this

Read the abstract here

Maternal micronutrients & nurturing environment boost child development

Maternal micronutrient supplements during pregnancy, strong nurturing environment result in measurably greater child development and cognitive ability at age 9-12 | ScienceDaily

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Other essential ingredients in the recipe for smarter kids include early life nurturing, happy moms, and educated parents, according to the research conducted in Indonesia.

As well, the study finds that a child’s nurturing environment is more strongly correlated than biological factors to brain development and general intellectual ability, declarative memory, procedural memory, executive function, academic achievement, fine motor dexterity, and socio-emotional health.

Between 2012 and 2014, the researchers tested extensively almost 3,000 Indonesian school children, then 9 to 12 years old, whose mothers had participated in an earlier study into the effects of consuming either multiple micronutrient (MMN) supplements or standard iron-folic acid (IFA) supplements during pregnancy.

Read the full overview here

Association between breastfeeding duration and cognitive development, autistic traits and ADHD symptoms

Boucher, O. et al. Pediatric Research. Published online: 4 January 2017

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Background: Several studies have related longer breastfeeding duration to better intellectual performance in children. By contrast, few studies have investigated the potential protective effects of breastfeeding against behavioral problems such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms, and even fewer on autism spectrum disorders (ASD) traits.

Conclusion: This study provides further evidence of a positive association of breastfeeding with cognitive function apart from socio-environmental factors, and also suggests a protective role against autistic traits. Results are in agreement with recommendations for prolonged breastfeeding duration to promote child development.

Read the full abstract here

Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program Reduces Length of Stay

Moody, C. et al. Journal of Pediatric Nursing. Published online: 3 December 2016

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Infants born at ≤32 weeks gestation are at risk of developmental delays. Review of the literature indicates NIDCAP improves parental satisfaction, minimizes developmental delays, and decreases length of stay, thus reducing cost of hospitalization.

Highlights:

  • NIDCAP is a proven framework for providing developmentally supportive care in the NICU, and can mitigate risks of prematurity
  • Earlier initiation of NIDCAP led to discharge at a younger post-menstrual age
  • Quality improvement investigations are effective in addressing critical healthcare needs

Read the full abstract here