A University of Montreal study has discovered that children from poorer family backgrounds are more likely to be shorter in stature than their 'well-fed' counterparts.
The researchers showed that continuous poverty during toddler years can curb the height of children by the time they reach kindergarten.
"Children from families experiencing a persistent lack of money to cover their basic needs risk facing a growth delay," said Dr. Louise Seguin,
"Children who experienced consistent poverty were more likely to have delayed growth versus children whose basic needs were met," she added.
For the study, the researchers analysed the data from the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development.
The researchers suggest that health inequalities directly related to poverty is even common in industrialized countries.
Professor Maria-Victoria Zunzunegui revealed that those inequities translate to deficient nutrition, bad housing conditions that can cause breathing illnesses such as asthma that in turn can lead to shorter stature.
In addition to these environmental problems, poor children are often exposed to multiple psychosocial adversities. These hardships can lead to chronic stress that can affect their health as well as their growth.
"Our study demonstrates the need for economic policies to support parents with young children so that they have the sufficient economic resources to cover their basic needs in both the short and long term to ensure their normal development," said Seguin.