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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 108, Issue 5–6, pp e578–e585 | Cite as

Child development in rural Ghana: Associations between cognitive/language milestones and indicators of nutrition and stimulation of children under two years of age

  • Marilyn N. Ahun
  • Frances E. Aboud
  • Richmond Aryeetey
  • Esi Colecraft
  • Grace S. Marquis
Quantitative Research
  • 1 Downloads

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Two studies aimed to assess the provision of nutrition and psychosocial stimulation in the home and to examine associations between mental development and nutrition and stimulation using a validated measure of development milestones.

METHODS: The first study consisted of secondary analyses on health and nutrition data from 1081 mother-child pairs (the children aged 0–12 months) and their households in Ghana’s Eastern Region. For the second study, the Ghana Milestones Measure, consisting of items assessing cognitive and language development, was used to assess child development in a subsample (N = 330) of Study 1 participants one year later (children 10–24 months of age). This measure was mother-reported and had been validated in a separate community in Ghana. Correlation and linear regression analyses were used to analyze the data.

RESULTS: Family assets and maternal education were identified as key factors of the family context. Both variables were positively associated with preventive health practices (r = 0.08 to 0.1 3, p < 0.0001 to 0.01), and dietary diversity (r = 0.15, p = 0.0001 to 0.0006), and negatively associated with maternal depressive symptoms (r = −0.19 to −0.12, p < 0.0001). Taller children had higher receptive (standardized beta = 0.16; p = 0.04) and expressive (0.21; 0.003) language, but not cognitive (0.15; 0.07) milestone scores, and psychosocial stimulation was positively associated with all three milestones (receptive = 0.1 3, p = 0.01; expressive = 0.21, p < 0.0001; and cognitive = 0.24, p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSION: Our study provides the first validated measure of children’s language and cognitive development in Ghana, finding associations with nutrition and stimulation. The Ghana Milestones Measure can be used to assess and help promote children’s mental development.

Key words

Child development cognitive/language milestones home environment Ghana 

Résumé

OBJECTIFS: Deux études ont évalué la nutrition et la stimulation psychosociale en milieu familial et ont examiné les associations entre le développement mental d’une part, et la nutrition et la stimulation d’autre part, à l’aide d’un indicateur validé des étapes de développement.

MÉTHODE: Pour la première étude, des analyses secondaires des données de santé et de nutrition de 1 081 couples mère-enfant (les enfants étant âgés de 0 à 12 mois) et de leurs ménages ont été menées dans la Région orientale du Ghana. La seconde étude a fait appel au Ghana Milestones Measure, un indicateur d’évaluation du développement cognitif et de l’acquisition du langage, pour évaluer le développement des enfants dans un sous-échantillon (N = 330) des participants de l’étude 1 un an plus tard (les enfants étant âgés de 10 à 24 mois). Les éléments de l’indicateur ont été déclarés par les mères et validés dans une autre communauté du Ghana. Les données ont été analysées par corrélation et par régression linéaire.

RÉSULTATS: L’actif familial et l’instruction maternelle ont été jugés être les facteurs clés du milieu familial. Ces deux variables étaient associées positivement aux pratiques sanitaires préventives (r = 0,08 à 0,1 3, p < 0,0001 à 0,01 ) et à la diversité alimentaire (r = 0,15, p = 0,0001 à 0,0006), et associées négativement aux symptômes dépressifs maternels (r = −0,19 à −0,12, p < 0,0001). Le langage réceptif (coefficient normalisé [bêta] = 0,16; p = 0,04) et expressif (0,21; 0,003) des enfants de plus grande taille était plus développé, mais non leurs indices de développement cognitif (0,15; 0,07), et la stimulation psychosociale était associée positivement aux trois étapes (langage réceptif = 0,1 3, p = 0,01; langage expressif = 0,21, p < 0,0001; et développement cognitif = 0,24, p < 0,0001).

CONCLUSION: Notre étude, qui offre le premier indicateur validé du développement linguistique et cognitif des enfants au Ghana, établit des associations avec la nutrition et la stimulation. L’outil Ghana Milestones Measure peut être utilisé pour évaluer et contribuer à favoriser le développement mental des enfants.

Mots clés

développement de l’enfant étapes cognitives et d’acquisition du langage milieu familial Ghana 

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marilyn N. Ahun
    • 1
    • 2
  • Frances E. Aboud
    • 1
  • Richmond Aryeetey
    • 3
  • Esi Colecraft
    • 3
  • Grace S. Marquis
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMcCill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Department of Social and Preventive MedicineUniversity of MontrealMontrealCanada
  3. 3.School of Public HealthUniversity of GhanaAccraGhana
  4. 4.School of Dietetics and Human NutritionMcCill UniversitySainte-Anne-de-BellevueCanada

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