PROJECT

THE LONG-TERM IMPACTS OF A NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTATION AND EARLY CHILDHOOD STIMULATION PROGRAM: A 40-YEAR FOLLOW-UP TO AN EXPERIMENTAL INTERVENTION 

Researcher: Douglas Almond with Valentina Duque

The aim of this project is to investigate the long-term impacts of one of the first experimental early-childhood interventions ever conducted, the “Bogota Study": a nutritional supplementation and early childhood stimulation program targeted to low income children in Colombia in 1973. The intervention consisted of randomized nutritional supplementation starting in late pregnancy and one-hour weekly visits from home visitors for up to three years that taught parenting skills and encouraged mothers to interact and play with their children in ways that would potentially foster their children's cognitive and personality development. The researchers plan to evaluate the effects of the intervention 40 years later on the probability of survival, educational attainment, earnings, welfare dependence, and family formation outcomes, as well as on their children's educational outcomes by age 15 (i.e., the grandchildren of parents who received services in 1973). The positive short-term health and cognitive benefits of the Bogota Study on children's health, cognitive development, and home environments have been documented in research published 25+ years ago (Lutter et al., 1989; Mora et al., 1979; Mora et al., 1981; Overholt et al., 1982; Super et al., 1990). No study has examined whether these gains were sustained or expanded into adulthood (as the fetal origins literature has often found), presumably for reasons of feasibility.