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MALNUTRITION


MALNUTRITION AND NEGLECT

Malnutrition often occurs in conjunction with neglect. The combination is far more devastating than malnutrition alone. Experimental animals exposed to both malnutrition and environmental isolation has more severe and persistent behavioral problems than after exposure to either one separately. Both malnutrition and neglect commonly result in behavioral withdrawal. These factors thus act synergistically to isolate the infant from the stimulation necessary for formal development. Malnutrition in the absence of neglect is less harmful. For example, among equally malnourished infants in Chile, developmental abilities were better among those who were the product of "wished-for pregnancies", "separated less from their mother's side," and received more stimulation from their mothers. Similarly, many Dutch children born during World War II suffered from pre- and postnatal malnutrition but had normal development and behavior (see exceptions on the following pages).

 

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