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Lancet. 2017 Jan 7;389(10064):77-90. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)31389-7. Epub 2016 Oct 4.

Early childhood development coming of age: science through the life course.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatrics, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA; RTI International, Research Park, NC, USA. Electronic address: mblack@peds.umaryland.edu.
2
Caribbean Institute for Health Research, University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica.
3
Division of Community Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA.
4
Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.
5
Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, USA.
6
Division of Global Health Equity, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
7
Harvard Graduate School of Education, Boston, MA, USA.
8
School of Social Policy and Practice, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
9
American University, Washington, DC, USA.
10
World Bank Group, Washington, DC, USA.
11
The Rise Institute, Washington, DC, USA.
12
Institute of Child Health, University College London, London, UK.

Abstract

Early childhood development programmes vary in coordination and quality, with inadequate and inequitable access, especially for children younger than 3 years. New estimates, based on proxy measures of stunting and poverty, indicate that 250 million children (43%) younger than 5 years in low-income and middle-income countries are at risk of not reaching their developmental potential. There is therefore an urgent need to increase multisectoral coverage of quality programming that incorporates health, nutrition, security and safety, responsive caregiving, and early learning. Equitable early childhood policies and programmes are crucial for meeting Sustainable Development Goals, and for children to develop the intellectual skills, creativity, and wellbeing required to become healthy and productive adults. In this paper, the first in a three part Series on early childhood development, we examine recent scientific progress and global commitments to early childhood development. Research, programmes, and policies have advanced substantially since 2000, with new neuroscientific evidence linking early adversity and nurturing care with brain development and function throughout the life course.

PMID:
27717614
PMCID:
PMC5884058
DOI:
10.1016/S0140-6736(16)31389-7
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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