How Can Malnourishment Affect Education – Assignment Example

The paper "How Can Malnourishment Affect Education" is a great example of a psychology assignment. The definition of malnutrition as provided by the World Health Organization reads as “the cellular imbalance between the supply of nutrients and energy and the body's demand for them to ensure growth, maintenance, and specific functions" (Shashidhar & Grigsby, 2009). Malnutrition during pregnancy and infancy, in addition to physical consequences, has a strong detrimental impact on the mental development of the individual as almost eighty percent of the development occurs during later pregnancy and the first two years subsequent to birth (Seitz, 2002). Malnutrition in children is responsible for poor brain development resulting from a slower rate of growth of the brain, reduced weight of the brain, thinner cerebral cortex, and reduction in the number of neurons, inadequate myelinization, and alterations to the dendritic spines. Some of these changes are similar to those seen in the case of mental retardation (Shashidhar & Grigsby, 2009). Thus malnourished children demonstrate lower IQ and reduced capacity for learning, which reflects in their performance at school (Seitz, 2002). 
 According to the WHO, almost a third of the children in the Third World countries suffer from malnutrition. Malnourishment lowers IQ and reduces learning capacity As a consequence education in the Third World countries will be slow paced and less demanding than in the developed world (Seitz, 2002).
What information could you use to refute the claims of books or educational programs that promise to help parents increase their babies' intelligence or instill advanced intellectual skills in infants? Based on valid research, what approaches would you use for intellectual development of infants?
Intellectual development in infants is a combination of genetics and the environment. The exact nature of the genetic involvement is not clear (Morgan et al, 1993). Nutrition during infancy is a significant factor among the environmental factors influencing the development of brain and the intelligence of an infant. A portion of this brain development occurs during pregnancy and in the first two years of infancy, which is essentially nutrition dependent. This negates the use of any books or educational programs to enhance intelligence or instil advanced intellectual skills in infants. 
Evidence suggests that for the intellectual development of infants, adequate nutrition including the vitamins like, A, B, C, D, E & K and mineral micronutrients like iodine and selenium (Higdon, 2003). Thus a nutritional approach is what I would employ for intellectual development of individuals.