Windows of Opportunity? Participation in U.S. Childhood Nutritional Interventions, Cognition and Attainment
Margot Jackson, Brown University
Using longitudinal data, I will examine whether the timing of childhood health intervention is of long-term importance for cognition and educational attainment. Specifically, I consider two U.S. nutritional programs: WIC and the National School Lunch Program. Though early-life health strongly predicts mortality and socioeconomic attainment, research in this area is complicated by central tenets of life course theory and human development—that developmental pathways are sensitive to not only the quality, but also the timing, duration and variability of environments. Nutritional-based public policies provide an excellent case study for this examination, given high levels of food-insecurity among U.S. youth, as well as strong links among nutrition, cognitive development and attainment. I ask: 1) Are nutrition interventions most effective when participation occurs very early in life?; and 2) Does the duration of intervention matter, whereby children benefiting from early and late intervention experience larger gains than those receiving short-term intervention, or none?
Presented in Session 96: Policy and Child Outcomes