Connecting the Brain to the Rest of the Body: Early Childhood Development and Lifelong Health Are Deeply Intertwined. With VIDEO

From Center on the Developing Child

'We know that responsive relationships and language-rich experiences for young children help build a strong foundation for later success in school. The rapidly advancing frontiers of 21st-century biological sciences now provide compelling evidence that the foundations of lifelong health are also built early, with increasing evidence of the importance of the prenatal period and first few years after birth.

'The extreme challenges of 2020 have laid bare longstanding inequities that affect the lives of children and families, as well as the health of a nation. Fully addressing these deeply embedded inequities and the inter-generational trauma of systemic racism will require transformative change at a societal level. More robust early childhood policies and programs must be part of this change because significant adversity in the lives of young children can disrupt the development of the brain and other biological systems. And these disruptions can undermine young children’s opportunities to achieve their full potential. Read the full statement.

'This Working Paper examines how developing biological systems in the body interact with each other and adapt to the contexts in which a child is developing—for better or for worse—with lifelong consequences for physical and mental health. It explains in clear language how these systems are affected by adversity early in life, and shows how those adaptations can result in costly, common chronic illnesses....'


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