Given that early childhood is a formative developmental period, this study addresses important knowledge gaps by systematically reviewing the current literature on the relationship between physical activity and dietary patterns with cognitive outcomes in early childhood (6 months to 5 years). For physical activity, twelve studies (5 cross-sectional, 3 longitudinal, and 4 experimental) were included. Eleven studies reported evidence suggesting that physical activity or gross motor skills are related to cognition or learning. Both acute bouts and longer term exposures showed benefit. For diet, eight studies were included consisting of secondary analyses from longitudinal cohort studies. A healthier dietary pattern was associated with better cognitive outcomes in all studies, although some of the reported associations were weak and the measures used varied across the studies. The review finds preliminary evidence that physical activity and healthy diets in early childhood are associated with better cognitive outcomes in young children. However, there is a need for more rigorous research in this area given the limited amount of literature and the variability in types and quality of measures used. As early learning has become an area of priority, research on children’s diet and activity behaviors should include cognitive and developmental outcomes.
The Relationship Between Physical Activity and Diet and Young Children’s Cognitive Development: A Systematic Review
Parental and Provider Perceptions of Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Interventions in the First 1,000 Days: A Qualitative Study
Novel approaches to reduce sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption during the first 1,000 days – pregnancy through age 2 years – are urgently needed. This study examined perceptions of SSB consumption and acceptability of potential intervention strategies to promote SSB avoidance in low income families in the first 1,000 days. Themes … More
The first 1,000 days, or the period from conception through age 2, is increasingly recognized as a critical period for the development of childhood obesity and its adverse consequences. This issue brief is based on two review papers that examined evidence on risk factors for developing childhood obesity and interventions … More
The healthfulness of foods and beverages found in retail food stores differs widely across the United States, both by location of the store as well as by store type. Some communities have limited access to stores that carry healthful staple foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grain-rich foods, and … More