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Poor children more prone to emotional and mental problems

Poor children more prone to emotional and mental problems

A National Institute of Health-funded study links economic conditions with a child’s development

It’s clear that children who grow up in poor families are often at a disadvantage, but now a study has found that these children are more prone to problems with their central nervous system.

The Bethesda, Md.-based National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded a study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology that links children born to parents of low socioeconomic status with increased risk of childhood learning difficulties, attention deficit disorders, anxiety disorders and more.

“The size of the effect we saw was modest,” the study’s senior author, Stephen Gilman, acting chief of the Health Behavior Branch at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, was quoted as saying by New York’s Medical Daily. “However, the findings do indicate that an impoverished environment may pose a hazard for a child's developing nervous system.”

Such occurrences are attributed to maternal alcohol or drug abuse, stress during pregnancy and possibly maltreatment, parental anxiety and depression after birth.

Christian Children’s Fund of Canada is working to improve maternal health in developing countries such as Ethiopia, and it has projects in various countries aimed at improving a child’s socio-emotional health. To find out how to get involved, visit ccfcanada.ca.

Building a mind: (above) Children’s socio-emotional growth is stimulated at this art event in Nicaragua, a Christian Children’s Fund of Canada country of operation
Photo by Philip Maher