Child undernutrition: opportunities beyond the first 1000 days

Nutrition, health and well-being
Early childhood development
Journal Article

Stunting often begins in utero and increases, on average, for at least the first 2 years after birth. The first 1000 days between conception and a child's second birthday has been identified as the most crucial window of opportunity for interventions.1 Evidence suggests that stunting is largely irreversible after the first 1000 days, leading to an intergenerational cycle of poor growth and development, in which women who were stunted in childhood remain stunted as adults and tend to have stunted offspring. However, evidence indicates that accelerated linear growth in childhood and adolescence following stunting in infancy (ie, catch-up growth) can occur. Evidence from the Young Lives international cohort study in Ethiopia, India, Peru, and Vietnam, found that around 50% of children who were stunted at age 1 year showed improvements in height and were no longer stunted at age 8 years in the absence of an intervention. Other longitudinal observational studies have also reported catch-up growth in childhood. Read the full article at the Lancet's website...