Monday, February 18, 2008

Poverty is Poison for Children

Declaration of the Rights of the Child.
Principle 6
The child, for the full and harmonious development of his personality, needs love and understanding.

February 18, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist. Poverty Is Poison. By PAUL KRUGMAN

"Poverty in early childhood poisons the brain." That was the opening of an article in aturday's Financial Times, summarizing research presented last week at the American ssociation for the Advancement of Science.

As the article explained, neuroscientists have found that "many children growing up in very poor families with low social status experience unhealthy levels of stress hormones, which impair their neural development." The effect is to impair language development and memory — and hence the ability to escape poverty — for the rest of the child's life. [...]

Jack Shonkoff, director of Harvard University’s centre on the developing child, said policymakers had to take note of the research because “the foundation of all social problems later in life takes place in the early years”.

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