Improving Early Childhood Nurturing Care to Support Childhood Development and Adult Health

A special issue of Children (ISSN 2227-9067). This special issue belongs to the section "Global and Public Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (5 January 2023) | Viewed by 50392

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Guest Editor
Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA
Interests: child development; maternal and child health; global health; epidemiology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Globally, it is estimated that almost 250 million children under five years of age in low-income and middle-income countries were at risk of failing to reach their full development potential in 2010. Child development plays an essential role in the individual’s lifelong results, impacting productivity, and income generation, and may even jeopardize the development of an entire nation. The pandemics may have made this scenario even more challenging. Understanding the factors involved in child development is essential for the development of public policies that can help all children to achieve their full potential.

This Special Issue will focus on the description of the magnitude of impairment in early child development around the world, as well as on the factors associated with it, with a special focus on the ones considered by World Health Organization as essential to Nurturing Care, such as malnutrition, breastfeeding, low birth weight, micronutrient deficiencies, parenting, parental education, poverty, safety, and toxic stress. Additionally, research evaluating the effect of interventions to improve child development is welcome. In addition, we would like to collect papers dealing with the effect of environmental factors on child development.

Dr. Hermano Alexandre Lima Rocha
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • child development
  • nutritional status
  • social determinants of health
  • stress, psychological
  • poverty
  • educational status

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Published Papers (22 papers)

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Editorial

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3 pages, 199 KiB  
Editorial
Introduction to the Special Issue on Improving Early Childhood Nurturing Care to Support Childhood Development and Adult Health
by Hermano Alexandre Lima Rocha
Children 2023, 10(5), 806; https://doi.org/10.3390/children10050806 - 29 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1007
Abstract
Background: Child development is an ongoing process that occurs from birth to adolescence and is shaped by various factors, such as genetics, the environment, and experiences [...] Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

16 pages, 1013 KiB  
Article
The Interplay between Socioeconomic Status, Parenting and Temperament Predicts Inhibitory Control at Two Years of Age
by Ángela Conejero and M. Rosario Rueda
Children 2023, 10(6), 1085; https://doi.org/10.3390/children10061085 - 20 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1176
Abstract
This paper investigates the interplay between environmental factors (socioeconomic status (SES) and parenting) and temperament in the development of inhibitory control (IC) at 2 years of age. We administered to toddlers (n = 59) a delay of gratification task which measures IC [...] Read more.
This paper investigates the interplay between environmental factors (socioeconomic status (SES) and parenting) and temperament in the development of inhibitory control (IC) at 2 years of age. We administered to toddlers (n = 59) a delay of gratification task which measures IC in the context of self-regulation. Parents reported their toddlers’ temperament, parenting strategies, and SES. We hypothesized that poorer IC would be associated with more reactive temperament, less effortful control, lower SES and inconsistent/coercive parenting practices. Finally, we explored the interaction between temperament, parenting and SES. We found that both coercive parenting and low-SES were negatively correlated to IC at the age of 2 years. Temperamental reactivity was unrelated to IC, whereas temperamental effortful control (EC) was positively associated with IC. Results revealed a moderation effect of EC on the influence of coercive parenting and SES in toddlers’ IC. Toddlers from lower SES backgrounds and with lower EC were more affected by inconsistent/coercive parenting practices and showed the poorest IC. In contrast, toddlers exhibiting high and average levels of EC seemed to be protected from the detrimental effect of low-SES and inconsistent/coercive parenting on IC. These results suggest that strengthening toddlers’ EC and improving parents’ parenting skills might be especially relevant for the development of IC in the context of self-regulation, particularly by preventing self-regulatory problems in children from socioeconomically deprived environments. Future studies with larger samples, focusing on populations from severe socioeconomically deprived environments, or intervention studies will be needed in order to confirm and expand our findings. Full article
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11 pages, 1429 KiB  
Article
Association of Sociodemographic Factors and Maternal Educational Attainment with Child Development among Families Living below the Poverty Line in the State of Ceará, Northeastern Brazil
by Hermano A. L. Rocha, Márcia M. T. Machado, Onélia M. M. L. de Santana, Sabrina G. M. O. Rocha, Camila M. de Aquino, Laécia G. A. Gomes, Lucas de S. Albuquerque, Maria D. de A. Soares, Álvaro J. M. Leite, Luciano L. Correia and Christopher R. Sudfeld
Children 2023, 10(4), 677; https://doi.org/10.3390/children10040677 - 3 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1664
Abstract
Maternal educational attainment has been identified as relevant to several child health and development outcomes. This study aimed to evaluate the association of sociodemographic and maternal education factors with child development in families living below the poverty line. A cross-sectional study was conducted [...] Read more.
Maternal educational attainment has been identified as relevant to several child health and development outcomes. This study aimed to evaluate the association of sociodemographic and maternal education factors with child development in families living below the poverty line. A cross-sectional study was conducted through telephone contact from May to July 2021 in Ceará, a state in Northeastern Brazil. The study population comprised families with children up to six years of age participating in the cash transfer program “Mais infância”. The families selected to participate in this program must have a monthly per capita income of less than US$16.50. The Ages and Stages Questionnaire version 3 was applied to assess the children’s development status. The mothers reported maternal educational attainment as the highest grade and or degree obtained. The final weighted and adjusted model showed that maternal schooling was associated with the risk of delay in all domains except for the fine motor domain. The risk of delay in at least one domain was 2.5-fold higher in mothers with a lower level of schooling (95% CI: 1.6–3.9). The findings of this study suggest that mothers with higher educational attainment have children with better child development outcomes. Full article
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13 pages, 450 KiB  
Article
Newborn Care Practices and Associated Factors Influencing Their Health in a Northern Rural India
by Md Arfin Islam, Md Suhail Khan, Anas Ahmad Khan, Bayapa Reddy Narapureddy, Kalyan Viswanath Reddy Lingala, Nazim Nasir, Khursheed Muzammil, Irfan Ahmad, Adam Dawria, Ahmed Faheem and Ali Mohieldin
Children 2023, 10(2), 408; https://doi.org/10.3390/children10020408 - 20 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2282
Abstract
Introduction: In developing countries, neonatal mortality is the most neglected health issue by the health system, leading to its emergence as a public health problem. A study was undertaken to assess the influence of factors and newborn care practices influencing newborn health in [...] Read more.
Introduction: In developing countries, neonatal mortality is the most neglected health issue by the health system, leading to its emergence as a public health problem. A study was undertaken to assess the influence of factors and newborn care practices influencing newborn health in the rural area of Bareilly district. Methodology: The descriptive cross-sectional study was organized in the rural areas of Bareilly. Study participants were selected based on the mothers who gave birth to a baby during the last six months. The mothers who delivered in that area within six months were included and, using the semi-structured questionnaire, data were collected. Data were analyzed using Microsoft Excel and SPSS 2021 version for windows. Results: Out of 300 deliveries, nearly one-quarter of the deliveries, 66 (22%), were happening in homes, and most of the deliveries, 234 (78%), happened in hospitals. It was observed that unsafe cord care practices were observed more among nuclear families, 8 (53.4%), than joint families, 7 (46.6%), and it was found to be statistically insignificant. The Unsafe feed was given 48 (72.7%) more commonly among home deliveries than institutional deliveries 56 (23.9%). Mothers’ initiation of delayed breastfeeding was nearly the same in both home and hospital deliveries. Delayed bathing was observed in nearly three-fourths of mothers, 125 (70.1%), aged 24–29 years, followed by 29 (16.8%) in the age period of 30–35 years. Conclusion: The practice of essential newborn care still needs to improve in Bareilly; there is a need to create awareness among the mothers and family members on newborn and early neonatal care aspects, such as promoting exclusive and early initiation of breastfeeding and delayed bathing practices. Full article
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12 pages, 293 KiB  
Article
Influence of Educational Specialty on Perceptions towards Corporal Expression of Prospective Teachers
by Jorge Rojo-Ramos, Antonio Castillo-Paredes, Jose Carmelo Adsuar, María Mendoza-Muñoz, Angel Denche-Zamorano and Santiago Gomez-Paniagua
Children 2023, 10(2), 337; https://doi.org/10.3390/children10020337 - 9 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1179
Abstract
Most educators overlook the importance of corporal expression, even though it has been shown to have various advantages for children of all ages. In the teaching–learning process, teacher views and beliefs are crucial because they have a significant impact on students. Therefore, the [...] Read more.
Most educators overlook the importance of corporal expression, even though it has been shown to have various advantages for children of all ages. In the teaching–learning process, teacher views and beliefs are crucial because they have a significant impact on students. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to analyze the existing differences in the perceptions of future teachers towards corporal expression according to their gender and educational specialty. A total of 437 aspiring Spanish instructors participated in the sample, selected by the convenience sampling method, and answered the Questionnaire to Assess Perceptions of Corporal Expression in Future Spanish Teachers to gauge their understanding of and preparation for corporal expression via Google Forms. The Mann–Whitney U test was employed to evaluate the possible differences between the diverse items and factors according to gender and educational specialty. The results displayed good perceptions of corporal expression throughout the sample, finding significant differences in most items and all the dimensions when education specialty is considered. Nevertheless, gender variables did not seem to mediate those perceptions. Therefore, university degrees oriented to education must include the same amount of content related to corporal expression to ensure adequate initial training regardless of the stage of education at which the teachers develop their academic activity. Full article
20 pages, 571 KiB  
Article
How Word/Non-Word Length Influence Reading Acquisition in a Transparent Language: Implications for Children’s Literacy and Development
by Aparecido J. C. Soares, Fernanda C. Sassi, Talita Fortunato-Tavares, Claudia R. F. Andrade and Débora M. Befi-Lopes
Children 2023, 10(1), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/children10010049 - 26 Dec 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1751
Abstract
Decoding skills are crucial for literacy development and they tend to be acquired early in transparent languages, such as Brazilian Portuguese. It is essential to better understand which variables may affect the decoding process. In this study, we investigated the processes of decoding [...] Read more.
Decoding skills are crucial for literacy development and they tend to be acquired early in transparent languages, such as Brazilian Portuguese. It is essential to better understand which variables may affect the decoding process. In this study, we investigated the processes of decoding as a function of age of children who are exposed to a transparent language. To this end, we examined the effects of grade, stimulus type and stimulus extension on the decoding accuracy of children between the ages of six and 10 years who are monolingual speakers of Brazilian Portuguese. The study included 250 children, enrolled from the first to the fifth grade. A list of words and pseudowords of variable length was created, based on Brazilian Portuguese structure. Children assessment was conducted using the computer program E-prime® which was used to present the stimuli. The stimuli were programmed to appear on the screen in a random order and children were instructed to read them. The results indicate two important moments for decoding: the acquisition and the mastery of decoding skills. Additionally, the results highlight an important effect of the extent and type of stimuli and how it interacts with the school progress. Moreover, data indicate the multifactorial nature of decoding acquisition and the different interactions between variables that can influence this process. We discuss medium- and long-term implications of it, and possible individual and collective actions which can improve this process. Full article
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10 pages, 307 KiB  
Article
Comparison of Glycosylated Haemoglobin, Blood Pressure, and Anthropometric Measurements Depending on Gender and Bodyweight State in Adolescents
by Jorge Carlos-Vivas, Antonio Castillo-Paredes, Rafael Gómez-Galán, Laura Muñoz-Bermejo, María Mendoza-Muñoz, Jose Carmelo Adsuar, Raquel Pastor-Cisneros and Violeta Calle-Guisado
Children 2022, 9(12), 1922; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9121922 - 8 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 926
Abstract
Background/Objective: The greatest anthropometric and physiological changes occur during adolescence. Assessment of growth patterns is necessary to prevent future health risks. Aims: To describe the values of glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c), systolic (SBP) and diastolic (DBP) blood pressure, triceps skinfold, and abdominal circumference according [...] Read more.
Background/Objective: The greatest anthropometric and physiological changes occur during adolescence. Assessment of growth patterns is necessary to prevent future health risks. Aims: To describe the values of glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c), systolic (SBP) and diastolic (DBP) blood pressure, triceps skinfold, and abdominal circumference according to gender and age (between 12 and 17 years), as well as explore the differences between body weight conditions. Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out, including 4130 adolescents between 12 and 17 years old. SBP and DBP, HbA1c, triceps skinfold, and abdominal circumference were evaluated. Results: Significant differences were observed between males and females for HbA1c (p < 0.001), SBP (p < 0.001), triceps curl (p < 0.001), and abdominal circumference (p < 0.001), independently of the age group. Regardless of gender and age groups, significant differences were observed between overweight/obese and normal-weight adolescents in SBP (p < 0.001), DBP (p < 0.001 to 0.009), triceps skinfold (p < 0.001), and abdominal perimeter (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Our findings revealed higher SBP, DBP, triceps skinfold, and abdominal circumference in overweight/obese adolescents compared to normal-weight adolescents in both genders. Full article
18 pages, 311 KiB  
Article
Teachers’ Language Use in Multilingual Head Start Classrooms: Implications for Dual Language Learners
by Megan Chan, Maria Belen Buttiler, Francis Yang, Jerry Yang, Yuuko Uchikoshi and Qing Zhou
Children 2022, 9(12), 1871; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9121871 - 30 Nov 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2799
Abstract
Dual language learners (DLLs) are sensitive to teachers’ language influence in early childhood classrooms. In this mixed methods study incorporating 53 teachers from 28 preschools in Northern California, we investigated the characteristics of teachers’ language use in preschools teaching Chinese–English and Spanish–English DLLs. [...] Read more.
Dual language learners (DLLs) are sensitive to teachers’ language influence in early childhood classrooms. In this mixed methods study incorporating 53 teachers from 28 preschools in Northern California, we investigated the characteristics of teachers’ language use in preschools teaching Chinese–English and Spanish–English DLLs. We further examined the links of teachers’ language use to the DLLs’ expressive vocabulary in English and their heritage language (HL), controlling for home language exposure and other confounding variables. Finally, we conducted interviews with teachers to understand how they make meaning of their daily language practices. The sample of children consisted of 190 Chinese–English (N = 125) and Spanish–English (N = 65) DLLs (mean age = 48.3 months; 48% females). The teacher survey showed that most teachers spoke two or more languages and used a mix of English and their HL during their interactions with DLLs. The results of random-intercept models showed that teachers’ language use did not uniquely predict children’s vocabulary, controlling for family-level factors. However, the teachers with more years of teaching DLLs oversaw children with a higher HL vocabulary. The interview data revealed that teachers employ several strategies to communicate with DLLs and support HL maintenance. Our study reveals the multilingual backgrounds of preschool teachers and the rich language strategies they implement in multilingual classrooms. Future directions concerning the quality and development of teachers’ language use are discussed. Full article
13 pages, 242 KiB  
Article
Perceptions of Healthcare Providers and Caregivers Regarding Procedures for Early Detection of Developmental Delays in Infants and Toddlers in Saudi Arabia
by Afnan Sohail Gmmash and Nada Osama Faquih
Children 2022, 9(11), 1753; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9111753 - 15 Nov 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1528
Abstract
Background: This study aimed to explore current practices adopted by frontline healthcare providers for the early detection of developmental delays in infants and toddlers in Saudi Arabia, with a specific focus on motor and speech delays and caregivers’ perceptions of early detection of [...] Read more.
Background: This study aimed to explore current practices adopted by frontline healthcare providers for the early detection of developmental delays in infants and toddlers in Saudi Arabia, with a specific focus on motor and speech delays and caregivers’ perceptions of early detection of developmental delays and their awareness of well-child visits. Methods: Two cross-sectional surveys were conducted and distributed. The first survey was performed among healthcare providers who worked directly with infants and toddlers in the first 3 years of life, and the second survey was performed among caregivers of infants and toddlers who received healthcare services. Participants were recruited via online groups, social media platforms, and clinics. Results: Overall, 60% of the healthcare providers played a role in identifying medical conditions that could be associated with delays and disabilities. However, they did not consistently check for normal development or developmental delays. Furthermore, the healthcare providers reported low frequencies of documenting developmental growth. The caregivers’ survey results showed that 67% were familiar with the concept of “well-child visits”, and the most frequently discussed topic by the healthcare providers was motor development. Conclusions: Well-defined, government-supported standards are needed to encourage regular well-child visits and implement efficient practices for the early detection of developmental delays. Full article
15 pages, 326 KiB  
Article
Individual, Maternal, Household, and Community Level Variability in Determining Inequalities in Childhood Anaemia within Ethiopia: Four-Level Multilevel Analysis Approach
by Kenenisa Abdisa Kuse, Demie Seyoum Jima, Teshita Uke Chikako, John Elvis Hagan, Jr., Abdul-Aziz Seidu, Richard Gyan Aboagye and Bright Opoku Ahinkorah
Children 2022, 9(9), 1415; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9091415 - 19 Sep 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1984
Abstract
Background: Childhood anaemia is a major public health issue necessitating rapid attention due to its debilitating consequences on the child, family, and society. Previous studies have assessed the prevalence and contributing factors to childhood anaemia in many developing countries. Yet, little is known [...] Read more.
Background: Childhood anaemia is a major public health issue necessitating rapid attention due to its debilitating consequences on the child, family, and society. Previous studies have assessed the prevalence and contributing factors to childhood anaemia in many developing countries. Yet, little is known about the factors that contribute to childhood anaemia in Ethiopia. The study examined the factors associated with inequalities of childhood anaemia in Ethiopia. Methods: Data for the study were extracted from the 2016 Demographic and Health Survey of Ethiopia. A total of 7960 children were considered in the final study. Bivariate and multilevel ordinal logistic regression analyses were used to estimate determinants of inequalities of childhood anaemia status. Results: Overall, the prevalence of mild, moderate, and severe anaemia among the children were 24.5%, 28.4%, and 2.2%, respectively. The child’s age (in months), sex of the child, preceding birth interval (in months), mother’s educational level, antenatal care visit, wealth index of mothers, source of drinking water, type of toilet facility, place of residence, and region were significantly associated with childhood anaemia. The multilevel random coefficient model found that there is a variation of childhood anaemia among women (intra-cluster correlation [ICC] = 15.06%), households (ICC = 15.6%), and communities (ICC = 14.22%) in Ethiopia. Conclusions: This study showed that anaemia is common among Ethiopian children. Factors found to be associated with childhood anaemia were the sociodemographic characteristics of the child and their mothers. We recommend that existing programs and interventions to prevent and reduce childhood anaemia be strengthened. Moreover, a targeted intervention includes deworming, intensified year-round behavior change communication campaigns and testing using digital methods, and point-of-care treatment. Full article
11 pages, 281 KiB  
Article
Factors Affecting High-Risk for Diabetes among Korean Adolescents: An Analysis Using the Eighth Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2020)
by Kyung-Sook Bang, Sang-Youn Jang and Ji-Hye Choe
Children 2022, 9(8), 1249; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9081249 - 19 Aug 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1788
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to identify significant factors affecting diabetes and pre-diabetes in South Korean adolescents, including adolescents’ and parental factors. We used data on 416 Korean adolescents aged 12–18 years and their parents (302 fathers and 375 mothers) from the [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to identify significant factors affecting diabetes and pre-diabetes in South Korean adolescents, including adolescents’ and parental factors. We used data on 416 Korean adolescents aged 12–18 years and their parents (302 fathers and 375 mothers) from the eighth National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey gained in 2020. The data were analyzed by descriptive statistics, t-test, Rao–Scott χ2 test, and univariate logistic regression using complex sample analysis. Among the participants, 101 adolescents (22.7%) were classified as the high-risk group for diabetes. Significant factors affecting the risk for adolescent diabetes in both sexes were higher BMI, fasting plasma glucose, hemoglobin A1c, and insulin. The father’s high degree of stress perception was only related to male adolescents, and the father’s poor subjective health status was related to females at risk for diabetes. In mothers, physician-diagnosed diabetes, fasting plasma glucose, and hemoglobin A1c were factors affecting both sexes. Results from this study can be used as preliminary data for the early detection of high-risk groups for diabetes in adolescents, and for the development of systematic health care guidelines to prevent diabetes in adolescents. Full article
10 pages, 654 KiB  
Article
Positive Parenting Behaviors and Child Development in Ceará, Brazil: A Population-Based Study
by Hermano A. L. Rocha, Luciano L. Correia, Álvaro J. M. Leite, Sabrina G. M. O. Rocha, Lucas de S. Albuquerque, Márcia M. T. Machado, Jocileide S. Campos, Anamaria C. e Silva and Christopher R. Sudfeld
Children 2022, 9(8), 1246; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9081246 - 18 Aug 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2878
Abstract
Parenting practices have been identified as a key determinant of children’s developmental outcomes. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association of parenting practices with child development in a cross-sectional population-based study in a low-income state in northeastern Brazil. The study [...] Read more.
Parenting practices have been identified as a key determinant of children’s developmental outcomes. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association of parenting practices with child development in a cross-sectional population-based study in a low-income state in northeastern Brazil. The study included data on 3566 caregiver–child pairs, and the children were aged 0–66 months. Positive parenting behaviors (PPBs) were conceptualized in areas of interactive play, social development, and speech and language interactions. Child development was evaluated using the Brazilian Ages and Stages Questionnaire. Linear regression analysis was used to assess the relationships. We found that a greater number of PPBs was associated with better child development domain scores. Among infants < 1 year, each additional PPB was associated with a 0.32 standardized mean difference (SMD) greater communication (95% CI: 0.24–0.41) and 0.38 SMD greater problem-solving scores (95% CI: 0.24–0.52). Among children aged 4–6 years old, each additional PPB was associated with improved communication (SMD: 0.22; 95% CI: 0.13–0.32), problem solving (SMD: 0.21; 95% CI: 0.10–0.32) and personal–social domain scores (SMD: 0.26; 95% CI: 0.17–0.36). Our findings indicate that PPB were robustly associated with better outcomes across developmental domains among Brazilian children. Programs and interventions that support PPB can contribute to improvements in development outcomes. Full article
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10 pages, 391 KiB  
Article
Strength and VO2max Changes by Exercise Training According to Maturation State in Children
by Liliana Aracely Enríquez-del-Castillo, Andrea Ornelas-López, Lidia G. De León, Natanael Cervantes-Hernández, Estefanía Quintana-Mendias and Luis Alberto Flores
Children 2022, 9(7), 938; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9070938 - 22 Jun 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3173
Abstract
The health benefits of physical activity (PA) are widely recognized; however, biological maturation contributions are a subject that has been little studied, which is why the aim of this study was to analyze the effect of a six-week training program at moderate-intensity on [...] Read more.
The health benefits of physical activity (PA) are widely recognized; however, biological maturation contributions are a subject that has been little studied, which is why the aim of this study was to analyze the effect of a six-week training program at moderate-intensity on the muscular strength and aerobic capacity in children between nine and 13 years (13 ± 1.0 years) according to their maturation state. Twenty-six schoolchildren (15 girls) participated in a six-week physical exercise program based on aerobic/anaerobic capacity and coordination skills. Maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), trunk-lift, push-ups, curl-ups, and handgrip strength (both hands) were measured as response variables. Body mass index (BMI), skeletal maturity indicator (SMI), peak height velocity (PHV), age on peak height velocity (APHV) and sex were considered as covariates. The results of VO2max, push-ups, curl-ups, and handgrip strength were higher after the exercise program in the whole group (p < 0.05). The VO2max showed a greater increase in the normal-weight than in the overweight-obesity children (p = 0.001). Higher results in dominant handgrip strength were observed in girls (p = 0.003). The PHV before intervention presented a positive correlation with the dominant handgrip strength in all kids (r = 0.70, p = 0.001). As a conclusion, the six-week training program improved the physical fitness of children independent of the maturation state. Somatic maturation increases the physical abilities in schoolchildren. Full article
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10 pages, 7709 KiB  
Article
Does Long-Term Enrollment in Day-Care Maintain or Increase Early Developmental Gains—Findings from an Intervention Study in Rural Bangladesh
by Priyanka Agrawal, Divya Nair, Shumona Sharmin Salam, Md Irteja Islam, Jena Derakhshani Hamadani and Olakunle Alonge
Children 2022, 9(7), 929; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9070929 - 21 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1568
Abstract
Objective: Community day-care centers (or crèches) are gaining popularity; access to these centers can reduce cognitive gaps. This paper describes the sustained impact of enrollment in day-cares on cognitive gains. Methods: As part of a larger study, a census of all children was [...] Read more.
Objective: Community day-care centers (or crèches) are gaining popularity; access to these centers can reduce cognitive gaps. This paper describes the sustained impact of enrollment in day-cares on cognitive gains. Methods: As part of a larger study, a census of all children was conducted in 2012–2013 to identify children between 9 and 17 months of age in rural Bangladesh. A sub-sample of children (n = ~1000) were assigned to receive either a day-care or playpen. Children from two sub-districts were randomly selected and assessed at 9–17 months of age for cognitive and behavioral domains using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire-III. The same children were then followed-up with after one year to see if the scores obtained by the children in the day-care intervention were different from those enrolled in the playpen intervention using a difference-in-difference estimator. Results: Children enrolled in the day-care intervention performed better (in communication, gross-motor, personal-social, and problem-solving domains) than children enrolled in the playpens when followed up with after a one-year period. Total scores were 0.31 (95% CI 0.141–0.472) higher (p value < 0.001) among children in the day-cares. Family care indicators as well as the child’s and mother’s weight were significantly associated with sustained and increased cognitive gains. Conclusion and relevance: The cognitive and psychosocial improvements seen with short-term exposure to structured ECD programs (day-care) were observed to be sustained over time with continued exposure. Home stimulation and parental involvement add to the long-term benefits of ECD. Full article
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8 pages, 1865 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Music Intervention on Fetal Education via Doppler Fetal Monitor
by Liza Lee, Yu-Hsin Chang, Wei-Ju Liang and Yao-Cing Huang
Children 2022, 9(6), 918; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9060918 - 18 Jun 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2668
Abstract
This study focused on the effects of music intervention on fetal education in pregnant women. The fetal heart rate of the fetus at 30–38 weeks of gestational age was monitored by an ultrasound Doppler fetal monitor, and differences in the frequency of fetal [...] Read more.
This study focused on the effects of music intervention on fetal education in pregnant women. The fetal heart rate of the fetus at 30–38 weeks of gestational age was monitored by an ultrasound Doppler fetal monitor, and differences in the frequency of fetal movement responses to familiar and unfamiliar music courses were recorded and analyzed. The analysis results showed that the fetuses had less fetal movement to fixed singing activities, with a mean of 0.7 and a standard deviation of 0.79. On the contrary, the fetuses had significant fetal movement responses to irregular singing, with a mean of 1.73 and a standard deviation of 1.37. The results showed that the fetus receives external sounds through hearing, and a pregnant woman singing fixed music to her fetus can stabilize the frequency of fetal movement, promote the health of herself and the fetus, and establish maternal-fetal bonding. Full article
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16 pages, 310 KiB  
Article
Inclusive EFL Teaching for Young Students with Special Needs: A Case in China
by Jinjin Lu, Han Jiang and Yi Huang
Children 2022, 9(5), 749; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9050749 - 19 May 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3818
Abstract
In China, English as a foreign language is important and compulsory from primary education to higher education, essentially because English has become a global language. The Ministry of Education emphasizes that school principals should attempt to train teachers in special education and in [...] Read more.
In China, English as a foreign language is important and compulsory from primary education to higher education, essentially because English has become a global language. The Ministry of Education emphasizes that school principals should attempt to train teachers in special education and in assisting students with special education needs (SEN) in regular classes via supportive services. However, EFL teachers usually have insufficient training and do not know how to adjust their teaching methods for students with SEN in regular classes. This study investigated 328 teachers’ teaching practices and their attitudes toward including students with SEN in K–12 English classes in the three largest provinces in east, south, and central China. The findings indicated that English teachers have not used specific teaching resources to teach students with SEN. Teachers noted that they were not provided with specialized training and there were not enough teaching assistants to help the students with SEN. There were significant statistical differences found between primary school teachers and middle school teachers with and without special education training regarding inclusion practices and their attitudes toward inclusion (regarding students with SEN). Most English teachers believe that students with SEN should be taught in special classes with specialized materials rather than in regular EFL classes. Full article
10 pages, 284 KiB  
Article
Nurse’s Evaluation on Health Education in Portuguese Pediatric Hospitals and Primary Care for Children/Young and Parents
by Anabela Fonseca Pereira, Joaquim Escola, Vitor Rodrigues and Carlos Almeida
Children 2022, 9(4), 486; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9040486 - 1 Apr 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1708
Abstract
Aim: This study aimed to analyze the nurse’s evaluation of the health education practice to children and parents. Methods: This is a descriptive and transversal research with a quantitative approach. The selection took place by non-probabilistic convenience sampling, and was developed with nurses [...] Read more.
Aim: This study aimed to analyze the nurse’s evaluation of the health education practice to children and parents. Methods: This is a descriptive and transversal research with a quantitative approach. The selection took place by non-probabilistic convenience sampling, and was developed with nurses on health units for pediatric hospitalization and primary health care in northern Portugal (Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro Hospital Center, EPE, Northern Regional Health Administration, Northern Local Health Unit, EPE.). Data were collected using a questionnaire with a sample of 311 nurses in the second semester of 2018. Results: 77.5% (n = 241) of nurses perform health education daily; 65% (n = 202) prepare according to the identified needs; the “Identification of children/young and parents’ health priorities” was considered to be the most facilitating element (n = 279; 89.7%); the most difficult element was the “Fear of confidentiality breach by the children/young and parents” (74.6%; n = 232); and 65.9% (n = 205) of nurses considered this practice to have equal importance compared to other nursing interventions. It was also found that academic/professional qualifications and the place of professional practice influence the importance that nurses attribute to HE practice. Conclusions: We can state that there is an appreciation of the binomial child and parents for a better identification of needs, and of the importance attributed to the current legal guidelines (letting themes leading to good health practices be addressed by nurses), which translates into a practice capable of influencing the determinants of health, which promotes health-enhancing behaviors and thus both leads to health gains and reinforces the nurse’s position as health-promoting agents. Full article
12 pages, 817 KiB  
Article
A Study on the Correlation between Intelligence and Body Schema in Children Who Practice Chess at School
by Vlad Ionuț Stegariu, Beatrice Aurelia Abalasei and Marius Stoica
Children 2022, 9(4), 477; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9040477 - 30 Mar 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3171
Abstract
The role of intelligence in chess is crucial because the game involves a situation of adversity between two players whose goal is to checkmate the opponent’s king. Due to the complex nature of the game and the huge amount of information needed to [...] Read more.
The role of intelligence in chess is crucial because the game involves a situation of adversity between two players whose goal is to checkmate the opponent’s king. Due to the complex nature of the game and the huge amount of information needed to become a professional chess player, the ability to receive, analyze, sort and use abstract notions is essential. A total of 67 children from the third grade were selected and tested twice, initially and finally, to establish the level of body schema and intelligence. The Raven test was used to numerically quantify their intelligence and the Goodenough test was conducted for the body schema. We used the paired samples T-test to highlight the statistical difference between the results and performed a simple linear regression to see if the level of intelligence is a predictor of the body schema. There is a linear relationship between intelligence and body schema, and we can use the first one to predict the evolution of the second. In conclusion, body schema can be educated through chess lessons, and this will lead to better psychomotor development. Full article
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12 pages, 236 KiB  
Article
The Multilevel Pathway in MSTs for the Evaluation and Treatment of Parents and Minor Victims of ACEs: Qualitative Analysis of the Intervention Protocol
by Luna Carpinelli, Daniela D’Elia and Giulia Savarese
Children 2022, 9(3), 358; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9030358 - 4 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2066
Abstract
Background: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) may be an important risk factor for the onset of developmental psychopathological disorders. Families involved in ACEs are often the subject of social or welfare policies aimed solely at the victim, without a proper consideration of family functionality. [...] Read more.
Background: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) may be an important risk factor for the onset of developmental psychopathological disorders. Families involved in ACEs are often the subject of social or welfare policies aimed solely at the victim, without a proper consideration of family functionality. Methods: We describe the results of an Italian intervention project, which aimed to reinforce both the local networking of the Campania region, and the skills of the operators involved in actions to prevent and combat ACEs. The project was characterized by different phases and two actions, namely: (1) diagnosis and therapy aimed at child victims of ACEs and their families; (2) supervision of the operators of the multidisciplinary specialized teams (MSTs). Results: 99% of the cases under review were characterized by intra-family violence; 34% suffered psychological abuse, 33% neglect, 23% inappropriate care, 4% sexual abuse, 3% excessive care and 3% physical abuse. Conclusions: Thanks to the interventions carried out, severe and chronic ACE situations were recognized, and processes of de-institutionalization and the construction of life projects were carried out in accordance with the territorial services. This offered child victims and their families an opportunity to restore the conditions of well-being, both for the growth of the individual and the family system. Full article
15 pages, 3122 KiB  
Article
This Is My Baby Interview: An Adaptation to the Spanish Language and Culture
by Elena Pinero-Pinto, María-Luisa Benítez-Lugo, Raquel Chillón-Martínez, Isabel Escobio-Prieto, Gema Chamorro-Moriana and José-Jesús Jiménez-Rejano
Children 2022, 9(2), 235; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9020235 - 10 Feb 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2028
Abstract
Evaluating the emotional state of parents is important for determining the intervention in the context of a family with a baby with Down syndrome. “This is my baby” is an interview that measures the acceptance, commitment and awareness of influence of parents towards [...] Read more.
Evaluating the emotional state of parents is important for determining the intervention in the context of a family with a baby with Down syndrome. “This is my baby” is an interview that measures the acceptance, commitment and awareness of influence of parents towards their baby. The Spanish adaptation of this instrument helps to better understand the emotional state of parents of children with developmental disorders. A cross-cultural adaptation and reliability analysis was carried out. The results suggest that the Spanish version of the This Is My Baby interview is a reliable instrument to measure the levels of acceptance, commitment and awareness of influence of parents of an infant with Down syndrome. Full article
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16 pages, 1267 KiB  
Article
The Moderating Role of Surgency, Behavioral Inhibition, Negative Emotionality and Effortful Control in the Relationship between Parenting Style and Children’s Reactive and Proactive Aggression
by Nora del Puerto-Golzarri, Aitziber Azurmendi, María Rosario Carreras, José Manuel Muñoz, Paloma Braza, Oscar Vegas and Eider Pascual-Sagastizabal
Children 2022, 9(1), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9010104 - 13 Jan 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3282
Abstract
The principal aim of this study is to explore the moderating role of temperament in the relationship between parenting style and the reactive and proactive aggressive behavior of 8-year-old children. The participants are 279 children (154 boys and 125 girls). To measure reactive [...] Read more.
The principal aim of this study is to explore the moderating role of temperament in the relationship between parenting style and the reactive and proactive aggressive behavior of 8-year-old children. The participants are 279 children (154 boys and 125 girls). To measure reactive and proactive aggression, children completed the reactive and proactive questionnaire (RPQ). Child temperament and parenting styles were evaluated by both parents using the temperament in middle childhood questionnaire (TMCQ) and the parenting styles and dimensions questionnaire (PSDQ). The results revealed that boys with high surgency levels and authoritarian fathers displayed more reactive aggression, whereas behaviorally inhibited boys with mothers who scored low for authoritarian parenting displayed less reactive aggression. Finally, girls with high levels of effortful control and mothers who scored low for authoritative parenting displayed more proactive aggression. The results highlight the value of studying the moderating role of temperament in the relationship between children’s aggressive behavior and both mothers’ and fathers’ parenting styles, and underscores the importance of doing so separately for boys and girls. Full article
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Review

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21 pages, 446 KiB  
Review
Infancy Dietary Patterns, Development, and Health: An Extensive Narrative Review
by Alexandra Martín-Rodríguez, Álvaro Bustamante-Sánchez, Ismael Martínez-Guardado, Eduardo Navarro-Jiménez, Erika Plata-SanJuan, José Francisco Tornero-Aguilera and Vicente Javier Clemente-Suárez
Children 2022, 9(7), 1072; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9071072 - 18 Jul 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3925
Abstract
Correct dietary patterns are important for a child’s health from birth to adulthood. Understanding a child’s health as a state of entire physical, mental, and social well-being is essential. However, reaching adulthood in a complete health proper state is determined by feeding and [...] Read more.
Correct dietary patterns are important for a child’s health from birth to adulthood. Understanding a child’s health as a state of entire physical, mental, and social well-being is essential. However, reaching adulthood in a complete health proper state is determined by feeding and dietary habits during preconception, pregnancy, or children infancy. Different factors, such as the mother’s lifestyle, culture, or socioeconomic status, are crucial during all these phases. In this review, we aimed to assess the long-term associations between infancy dietary patterns and health and their influence on development and growth. To reach this objective, a consensus critical review was carried out using primary sources such as scientific articles, and secondary bibliographic indexes, databases, and web pages. PubMed, SciELO, and Google Scholar were the tools used to complete this research. We found that high-income countries promote high-calorie foods and, consequently, obesity problems among children are rising. However, undernutrition is a global health issue concerning children in low- and middle-income countries; thus, parental socioeconomic status in early life is essential to children’s health and development, showing that biological, social, and environmental influences are increased risk factors for chronic diseases. This narrative review is aimed to collect evidence for early nutritional intervention and future disease prevention. Full article
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