Malnutrition impacts children's literacy development

Research carried out by the University of Oxford, on behalf of Save the Children, suggests a high-quality education can be void if a child is malnourished. The global study, which included over 7,000 eight-year-olds, suggests that children who are severely malnourished are 20% more likely to struggle with literacy and misread simple sentences.

A BBC report states that a quarter of children across the globe are thought to be stunted by malnutrition. Ahead of the G8 global nutrition summit, due to take place in London on 8 June, leading authors, including Julia Donaldson, Michael Morpurgo and David Walliams, are raising concerns about the connection between malnourishment and educational outcomes.

There are concerns that unless something is done to address the shocking figure of malnourished children (thought to be a quarter of children across the world), who will be suffering from a lack of physical and mental energy and focus, literacy levels across the globe will plummet as children struggle to read and write simple sentences.

Julia Donaldson says: "Leaders attending this summit have a golden opportunity to stop this. They must invest more funding to tackle malnutrition if we are to stop a global literacy famine."

The report suggests children who are malnourished from their early years will be severely disadvantaged in their ability to learn and develop, across not only literacy but maths and other subject areas too. The BBC report states "they are also 13% less likely to be in the appropriate grade for their age at school."

This research confirms the importance of a well-balanced and nourishing diet, before and during a child's school years, to give them the best opportunity to realise their potential.

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