Reducing Malnutrition and Promoting Early Childhood Development: Evidence from Randomized Evaluations
The first 1,000 days of life comprise a critical period of physical and cognitive development. Children who experience normal physical growth and development in this period do better in school, and as adults, earn about 20 percent more in their jobs and are 10 percent more likely to own their own businesses.1 On the other hand, inadequate nutrition during this period can cause stunting and contribute to long-term developmental consequences that affect future productivity and well- being.
In this brief, Innovations for Poverty Action has complied evidence from randomized evaluations of programs that aim to support a child’s first 1,000 days, in addition to evidence from academic reviews of high-quality trials in maternal and child health and early childhood development.
While all the interventions in this brief have been rigorously tested, sometimes solutions that work in one context may not work as well in another. In addition, while many of these interventions have been demonstrated to improve child health and development in trial settings, delivery (especially to remote populations) at scale will be more challenging. Careful monitoring and evaluation as these programs are adapted to a new context will help stakeholders understand whether programs produce the intended results.