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close this bookEarly Supplementary Feeding and Cognition (Society for Research in Child Development, 1993, 123 pages)
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentAbstract
View the documentI. Introduction
Open this folder and view contentsII. Methodology and findings of the longitudinal study
Open this folder and view contentsIII. Conceptual rationale for the follow-up
Open this folder and view contentsIV. Methodological and substantive considerations
Open this folder and view contentsV. Methods of the cross-sectional follow-up
Open this folder and view contentsVI. Results from the cross-sectional follow-up
Open this folder and view contentsVII. Discussion
View the documentAppendix A: Average nutrient intakes of Atole and Fresco subjects
View the documentAppendix B: Descriptions of tests used in the analysis of the preschool battery
View the documentReferences
View the documentAcknowledgments
View the documentCommentary - Going beyond nutrition: Nutrition, context, and development
View the documentCommentary - Early supplementary feeding and cognition: A retrospective comment
View the documentReply - Nutrition and development: Considerations for intervention
View the documentContributors
View the documentStatement of editorial policy


POLLITT, ERNESTO; GORMAN, KATHLEEN S.; ENGLE, PATRICE L.; MARTORELL, REYNALDO; and RIVERA, JUAN. Early Supplementary Feeding and Cognition: Effects over Two Decades. With Commentaries by THEODORE D. WACHS and NEVIN S. SCRIMSHAW; and a Reply by ERNESTO POLLITT and KATHLEEN S. GORMAN. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 1993, 58 (7, Serial No. 235).

The study reported in this Monograph of the effects of early supplementary feeding on cognition included two data collection periods: a longitudinal investigation spanning the years 1969- 1977 and a cross-sectional follow-up carried out in 1988-1989. The study was conducted in four rural villages in Guatemala and compared the differential effects of exposure in childhood (0-7 years) to an Atole supplement (11.5 g of protein; 163 kcal) or a Fresco supplement (59 kcal) on performance on a battery of psychoeducational and information-processing tests in adolescence and young adulthood (11-24 years). In this report, particular attention is given to a cohort of subjects who were exposed to the supplement prenatally and during at least the first 2 years of postnatal life. Data on this subsample are contrasted with those on a cohort of subjects who received the supplement only after 24 months of life. The Monograph also reports results from an analysis of the supplementation effects in infancy and early childhood.

Consistent differences between groups on the psychoeducational tests were observed. Adolescents from Atole villages scored significantly higher on tests of knowledge, numeracy, reading, and vocabulary than Fresco subjects. Atole was also associated with a faster reaction time in information-processing tasks. Significant interactions helped identify two groups who benefited more from the Atole treatment: those at the lowest levels of socioeconomic status and those who attained the highest levels of primary schooling. The consistent differences in test performance established in the follow-up assessment contrast sharply with the few and less pronounced between-group differences observed in the infancy and preschool periods.

After close scrutiny of alternative hypotheses, it is concluded that nutritional differences provide the strongest explanation for the test performance differences observed in the follow-up between the subjects exposed to the Atole and those exposed to the Fresco supplement.