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Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Jan;99(1):122-9. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.063404. Epub 2013 Oct 16.

Supplemental feeding during pregnancy compared with maternal supplementation during lactation does not affect schooling and cognitive development through late adolescence.

Author information

1
Human Development Network, World Bank, Washington, DC (HA, ML, and AT); the International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, DC (HA); the Medical Research Council (MRC), International Nutrition Group, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom; and the MRC Keneba, MRC Unit, Fajara, The Gambia (SH, HM, and SEM).

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The long-term impact of early malnutrition on human capital outcomes remains unclear, and existing evidence has come largely from observational studies.

OBJECTIVE:

We compared the impact of a nutritional supplement given during pregnancy or lactation in rural Gambia on educational performance and cognitive ability in offspring at their maturity.

DESIGN:

This study was a follow-up of a randomized trial of prenatal high protein and energy supplementation conducted between 1989 and 1994. Subjects were 16-22 y of age at follow-up, and information was collected on schooling achievement and cognitive ability by using the Raven's progressive matrices test, Mill Hill vocabulary test, and forward and backward digit-span tests.

RESULTS:

A total of 1459 individuals were traced and interviewed and represented 71% of the original cohort and 81% of the surviving cohort. There was no difference in cognitive ability or educational attainment between treatment groups by using any of the methods of assessment.

CONCLUSION:

We have shown little evidence to support a long-term effect of prenatal protein-energy supplementation compared with supplementation during lactation on cognitive development in rural Gambians. This trial was registered at http://www.controlled-trials.com as ISRCTN72582014.

PMID:
24132979
PMCID:
PMC3862451
DOI:
10.3945/ajcn.113.063404
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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