Developmental Consequences of Malnutrition in Early Childhood

  • Henry N. Ricciuti
Part of the Genesis of Behavior book series (GOBE, volume 3)


The past ten years have witnessed a heightened and continuing concern with malnutrition as a serious public health problem which constitutes a threat to the normal growth and development of many thousands of poor children in various regions of the world, including the United States. Malnutrition tends to occur primarily in poor families confronting the adverse socioeconomic and environmental conditions typically associated with poverty, including poor housing and sanitation, exposure to infectious and parasitic disease, inadequate health care, large family size, very limited educational and occupational opportunities, poor feeding and child care practices, etc. Under such circumstances, it is well known that malnutrition may lead to increased early childhood mortality and morbidity, and to substantial impairment of physical growth and brain development, particularly if the nutritional deficits are early, severe, and long-lasting without treatment. The possibility that malnutrition may also result in a significant and long-lasting impairment of the development of intellectual and social competence, and of adaptive behavior generally, has been a matter of continuing widespread concern during the past ten years. This issue is obviously not only a matter of substantial scientific importance but one with tremendous social and public-policy implications as well.


Nutritional Supplementation Psychological Development Developmental Consequence Mental Development Intellectual Development 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry N. Ricciuti
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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