Benefits of Interventions at School Age on Growth and Development

Authors: Kristie Watkins, Donald Bundy, Dean Jamison, Andreas Georgiadis


Poor health early in life has long-term consequences for development. It has been argued that intervention to support development should focus primarily on the early years and that the consequences of early insults are irreversible. For example, Martorell, Kettel Khan, and Schroeder (1994), a longitudinal study of supplementation for children ages 0–7 years in Guatemala, suggested that “stunting is a condition resulting from events in early childhood and which, once present, remains for life.” This view was echoed in The Lancet series on maternal and child undernutrition: “Poor fetal growth or stunting in the first two years of life leads to irreversible damage, including shorter adult height, lower attained schooling, reduced adult income, and decreased offspring birthweight” (Victora and others 2008).