Nutrition in infancy & earning power (2008)

Research has suggested nutrition in infancy may be linked to adult earning power.  The findings, published in The Lancet, were based on a three-decade study of Guatemalan males from birth. During the 1970s, some of the babies in the study were given a very nutritious food supplement, some a less nutritious one. When the researchers returned three decades later to see how the babies were faring, they found that men who had had the very nutritious supplement up to the age of three were earning nearly half as much more per hour than the other villagers. The  women did not have similar wage differentials, possibly because they had less choice about where they worked. The researchers assert that these results are the first direct evidence of a clear link between early-life nutrition and adult wages, and that feeding babies well could drive economic growth.

Hoddinott J et al. ‘Effect of a nutrition intervention during early childhood on economic productivity in Guatemalan adults’ Lancet. 2008 Feb 2;371(9610):411-6

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