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Nutrition, growth, and other factors associated with early cognitive and motor development in Sub-Saharan Africa: a scoping review

French, Blandine; Outhwaite, Laura A.; Langley-Evans, S. C.; Pitchford, Nicola J.

Nutrition, growth, and other factors associated with early cognitive and motor development in Sub-Saharan Africa: a scoping review Thumbnail


Authors

Blandine French

Laura A. Outhwaite

S. C. Langley-Evans

NICOLA PITCHFORD NICOLA.PITCHFORD@NOTTINGHAM.AC.UK
Professor of Developmental Psychology



Abstract

© 2020 The British Dietetic Association Ltd. Background: Food insecurity, poverty and exposure to infectious disease are well-established drivers of malnutrition in children in Sub-Saharan Africa. Early development of cognitive and motor skills – the foundations for learning – may also be compromised by the same or additional factors that restrict physical growth. However, little is known about factors associated with early child development in this region, which limits the scope to intervene effectively. To address this knowledge gap, we compared studies that have examined factors associated with early cognitive and/or motor development within this population. Methods: Predetermined criteria were used to examine four publication databases (PsycInfo, Embase, Web of Science and Medline) and identify studies considering the determinants of cognitive and motor development in children aged 0–8years in Sub-Saharan Africa. Results: In total, 51 quantitative studies met the inclusion criteria, reporting on 30% of countries across the region. Within these papers, factors associated with early child development were grouped into five themes: Nutrition, Growth and Anthropometry, Maternal Health, Malaria and HIV, and Household. Food security and dietary diversity were associated with positive developmental outcomes, whereas exposure to HIV, malaria, poor maternal mental health, poor sanitation, maternal alcohol abuse and stunting were indicators of poor cognitive and motor development. Discussion: In this synthesis of research findings obtained across Sub-Saharan Africa, factors that restrict physical growth are also shown to hinder the development of early cognitive and motor skills, although additional factors also influence early developmental outcomes. The study also reviews the methodological limitations of conducting research using Western methods in sub-Saharan Africa.

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Jun 8, 2020
Online Publication Date Jul 30, 2020
Publication Date Jul 30, 2020
Deposit Date Jun 15, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jul 31, 2021
Journal Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
Print ISSN 0952-3871
Electronic ISSN 1365-277X
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
DOI https://doi.org/10.1111/jhn.12795
Keywords Early Child Development, Sub-Saharan Africa, Cognitive Development, Child Health, Growth
Public URL https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/4654781
Publisher URL https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jhn.12795
Additional Information This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Nutrition, growth, and other factors associated with early cognitive and motor development in Sub?Saharan Africa: a scoping review, which has been published in final form at https://www.doi.org/10.1111/jhn.12795. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

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