A worrying trend has manifested over the past decade in the form of a growing concern about the levels of quality of our children’s academic education. Many parents, across all strata of society, have come forward questioning whether the current educational system is inadequate and whether it prepares our children for the future. The sad truth is that these parents aren’t altogether wrong. Schools are a mirror to society, and a multitude of factors affect our children’s educational environment. Obvious factors like teacher’s training and vocational aptitudes are compounded by less obvious ones such as the impact that nutrition has on intellectual development and educational performance.

What role does nutrition play childhood development?

Our children’s quality of life, including their eventual integration into society as prosperous and well-adjusted individuals, is undeniably linked to nutrition. By ensuring that our children have access to sound nutritional practices from childhood, we can guarantee that they grow to be healthy individuals as well as significantly lower the risk of them developing preventable diseases such as atherosclerosis, obesity, and diabetes.

Does nutrition affect intellectual development?

There is no questioning that malnutrition radically affects school performance and childhood intellectual development. Conditions such as iron and zinc deficiencies can eventually lead to anaemia, stunted cerebral growth, impaired immune response, and even hypogonadism; all of which have been repeatedly associated with lower intellect. In fact, clinical studies have shown that malnutrition can reduce a child’s adult IQ scores by up to 15 points.

A child with a poor nutritional environment is several times more likely to be held back a grade than his better-fed contemporaries. Moreover, there is strong evidence to suggest that the earlier the child begins to benefit from nutritional programs, the higher their development will be. Therefore, it is imperative that parents seek to include these practices early and with the support of their children’s early education centres.

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