A Penn State study has brought to light the fact that nutrient deficient mothers affect child's behaviour. This was proved when it was shown that children born to teenage mothers who were iron deficient early in their pregnancies were less active at age 3 than the children of iron sufficient moms.
According to Dr. Laura Murray-Kolb, National Institutes of Mental Health postdoctoral fellow at Penn State and lead author said, "By being less active, the children may be missing out on exploring their environment and, consequently, missing out on opportunities for positive development. While many previous studies have shown that maternal nutrition affects the physical health and development of the child, this study adds to the growing evidence that a mother's nutritional status in pregnancy also affects the behavior and personality of the child as well."
The methodology was to select sixty teenage mothers, ages 14 through 19, from a mid-size town in Pennsylvania and collection of blood samples at 16 weeks into their pregnancy. The results were that the majority, 58 percent, was iron deficient, including 10 percent who were actually anemic.
Murray-Kolb notes that the high rate of iron deficiency is fairly typical of adolescent women who often experiment with a variety of diets. At the culmination of At the end of pregnancies, only 7 percent of the study participants were iron sufficient.
When the children of the study participants were three years old, the mothers were asked to complete two questionnaires about their child's behavior. The questionnaires indicated that the children of the women who were iron deficient early in their pregnancies had lower activity levels and were slower at responding to their environment than children of iron sufficient mothers.
To put it in words, "The results of this study reinforce the notion that prenatal vitamins are important for the health and well-being of both mother and child."