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
Studying facilitators and barriers in coupon redemption for fruits and vegetables by Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children participants
The Special Supplemental Nutrition program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a federally-funded nutrition assistance program supporting low-income women, infants, and children. The Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) provides WIC clients with coupons to purchase fruits and vegetables from approved farmers markets in addition to their regular WIC benefits. … More
Providing actionable evidence for equity-focused strategies to improve diet quality and food security for low-income pregnant women and for infants
Households with children ages 6 and younger are at a particularly high risk of food insecurity (14.3% food insecure). These are also the households in which new pregnancies are most likely to occur. The Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is designed to improve the health of … More
Improving the actionable research base for health equity in breastfeeding by assessing an intervention to increase rates in minority populations
Breastfeeding equity is a critical component of nutrition-related equity. Breastfeeding rates in the United States are strongly correlated with poverty and race. Communities and Hospitals Advancing Maternity Practices (CHAMPS) is a multi-sectoral, policy, system, and environmental initiative which has significantly increased breastfeeding rates among black populations. CHAMPS was launched in … More