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Physical growth and cognitive skills in early-life: Evidence from a nationally representative US birth cohort

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  • Murasko, Jason E.

Abstract

This paper establishes associations between length/height and cognitive skills in infancy, toddlerhood, and school-entry. The data come from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study – Birth Cohort (ECLS-B), a representative longitudinal sample of US children born in 2001. A positive association between length/height and cognition is found as early as 9 months and continues through school-entry. These associations are robust to controls for birthweight and economic status. Early growth is also shown to be a stronger predictor of reading and math skills in kindergarten than attained height. Girls exhibit stronger evidence of this latter result than boys. These findings have implications for the interpretation of early life as a critical period for the growth–cognition relationship.

Suggested Citation

  • Murasko, Jason E., 2013. "Physical growth and cognitive skills in early-life: Evidence from a nationally representative US birth cohort," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 267-277.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:97:y:2013:i:c:p:267-277
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.12.006
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    Keywords

    Child; Cognitive; Growth; Height; Infant; Skill; United States;

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