A recent study published in The Lancet Global Health, highlights the importance of nutrition and responsive stimulation for children's cognitive, language and motor development. The study was led by Dr. Aisha K. Yousafzaiof Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan. The study followed a cohort of impoverished children in rural Pakistan whose parents had been guided and trained on strengthening nutritional care and 'responsive stimulation'. The caregivers of the infants were trained to observe and respond to their child's cues during play and were encouraged to communicate with the aim of improving the quality of interactions.
The study found that by the age of 4, children who received the responsive stimulation intervention were more likely to have, higher IQs, better pre-academic skills, better executive functioning and more pro-social behaviours.
The inclusion of stimulation intervention in health programmes is key to health development of children. As Dr. Aisha K. Yousafzaiof highlights, "The abilities fostered by stimulation are important for readiness and a successful transition to preschool. The competencies asses in this study have been shown to predict school engagement and longer-term academic attainment."