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Am J Public Health. 1977 March; 67(3): 233–239.
PMCID: PMC1653559

Relations between nutrition and cognition in rural Guatemala.


The nutritional status of three and four year old children, as measured by height and head circumference, is related to cognitive performance in four rural Guatemalan villages. The relationships persist when social factors are taken into account. Families in two of the villages participate in a voluntary, high protein-calorie supplementation program. In the other two villages, the families receive a vitamin and mineral supplement with one-third of the calories. Although the longitudinal study still is ongoing there is some evidence that the children who receive the higher calorie supplement (or whose mothers received it during pregnancy and lactation) are most likely to score high in cognitive performance. The results support other animal and human studies that report an association between nutrition and cognitive development. The findings, while not diminishing social environmental explantions of differences in cognitive function, suggest the worth of nutrition intervention programs in rural areas of lesser-developed countries.

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Selected References

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