This is the third in our series of four articles on the first 1000 days of life. Research has proven this a critical and unparalleled window of time, which has a lifelong influence on an individual’s growth, brain development and relationships. Here …
Why loving mothers improve their baby's health
Research recently released has shown that being a loving, nurturing mother pays off on your children beyond childhood, even if they have grown up in a poor family. The study by Professor Margie Lachman of Brandeis University in Massachusetts, reveals that children who had loving mothers were found to have better health as an adult than those who were not close to their mothers.
Studies have already proven that kids who are raised poor areas are more likely to suffer from chronic illness in adulthood, but US researchers were puzzled why some children bucked this trend.
A closer look at adults who had come from an impoverished background showed that a stressful childhood increased the chances of a child suffering illnesses such as diabetes, a stroke or high blood pressure later in life.
However, adults at risk of these illnesses who'd grown up with a loving mother were found to be in better health overall than others who hadn't been as close to their mums.
Researchers think this is because of the empathy, coping strategies and self-respect taught by loving mums to their kids.
The research team followed 1,200 people over 10 years to see what affects maternal nurturing had on overall health.
Professor Margie Lachman, whose findings were published in the Psychological Science journal says, "the literature is very clear that people who are low in socioeconomic status have worse health than their same age counterparts.
"Modifiable factors play an important role, and we are realising that things can be done to try to minimise these health disparities."
Clearly money and health care access are part of it, she says, but numerous studies show they play a very small role, as countries with universal health care have the same social gradient.
"Emerging literature reveals that many of the health problems in midlife, including metabolic syndrome, can be traced back to what happened in early childhood.
"The stresses of childhood can leave a biological residue that shows up in midlife. Yet, among those at risk for poor health, adults who had nurturing mothers in childhood fared better in physical health in midlife."
She added: "Perhaps it's a combination of empathy, the teaching of coping strategies or support for enrichment."
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