Colección: La Educación
Número: (134-135) I,II
The review presented above provides evidence that satisfying psychosocial needs can have an effect on nutritional and health status through its effect on metabolism linked to stress reduction, and by helping to produce changes in the care demanded and provided. At the same time, nutrition is seen to have an effect on psychosocial development, operating primarily through its impact on attention, responsiveness, independence, irritability, and affect.
The discussion suggests a kind of spiral effect in which a child who is free from social and psychological stress and who is provided with appropriate stimulation uses its food intake more efficiently because biochemical processes kick in to help the operation of the immune system and to foster growth. This helps provide energy and needed nutrients, increasing the physical activity of the child and hence the child’s ability to interact. In interaction, the child more easily attracts the attention of the caregiver and demonstrates its needs. The caregiver responds, providing food and affection, further energizing the child.
The spiral applies to the caregiver as well. A caregiver who is free from social and psychological stress and who is better nourished and healthier will be better able to energize and respond to the child, helping the child to demand more food, increasing the food intake.... But the spiral can move downwards as well as upwards, with an impaired ability of the child to elicit a response from the caregiver leading to reduced food intake, producing even further inability to interact, leading to lower food intake, etc.