COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT IN CHILDREN OF RURAL HIGHLANDS OF CHIMBORAZO, ECUADOR: ASSOCIATION WITH STUNTING
Isabel Cando1, Alicia Díaz-Silva2, Marcela Guerendiain2
1School of ClinicalPsychology, Faculty of Health Sciences, National University of Chimborazo, Riobamba, Ecuador
2School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, National University of Chimborazo, Riobamba, Ecuador.*E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Objective: To analyse the relationship between cognitive development and stunting in schoolchildren of rural highlands of Chimborazo.
Participants and methods: This work included 39 children participant in the EVANES study, aged 7-12 years, from a rural school of Chimborazo, Ecuador. The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children four edition (WISC IV) was used to evaluateverbal comprehension (VC), working memory (WM), perceptual reasoning (PR), processing speed(PS)and full-scale intelligence quotient (FSIQ).Intelligence scores were classified as follows: extremely low (<70), borderline (70-79), low average (80-89), average (90-109), high average (>110) and superior (>120). The nutritional status was defined according to standard deviation score of heightusing the World Health Organization GrowthReference, 2007. Children were divided in stunting (height-for-age <-2 SD, n=10) and normal (height-for-age ≥-2 SD, n=29).
Results: The score means of VC, WM, PR, PS and FSIQ were 75.0 ±12.0, 86.0 ±13.0, 80.0 ±13.0, 85.0 ±13.0 and 76.0 ± 11.0, respectively. 30.76% of schoolchildren presented extremely low score in VC, 28.20% in PR and 25.64% in FSIQ. Only 35.89 (VC), 48.71 (PR), 58.96 (WM), 69.22 (PS), 41.02 (FSIQ) of children had an average performance. Those with stunting presented lower verbal comprehension (p=0.010) and full-scale intelligence quotient (p=0.013) than control group, independently of age, weight, body mass index, and mother and father education.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that stunting condition in children at school age may affect theircognitive development, especially the mental functions inthe anterior cortex of the brain.