Objectives: (1) To determine whether benefits to growth and cognition remain after intervention in growth-restricted children who received psychosocial stimulation and nutritional supplementation in early childhood. (2) To investigate the extent of the differences in IQ and cognition at age 11 to 12 years between growth-restricted and non-growth-restricted children.
Study design: Growth-restricted and non-growth-restricted children were identified at age 9 to 24 months, at which time the growth-restricted children participated in a 2-year randomized trial of nutritional supplementation and psychosocial stimulation. Eight years after the interventions ended, the children's growth, IQ, and cognitive functions were measured.
Results: There were no significant benefits from supplementation to growth or cognition. Children who had received stimulation had higher scores on the Weschler Intelligence Scales for Children-Revised full-scale (IQ) and verbal scale and tests of vocabulary and reasoning (all P <.05). The growth-restricted children had significantly lower scores than the non-growth-restricted children on 10 of 11 cognitive tests.
Conclusions: Psychosocial stimulation had small but significant long-term benefits on cognition in growth-restricted children. Growth-restricted children had significantly poorer performance than non-growth-restricted children on a wide range of cognitive tests, supporting the conclusion that growth restriction has long-term functional consequences.