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First 1,000 Days

By Josephine Holgado

Researchers found out that the first 1,000 days of a child's life, i.e., from the day the baby is conceived inside the mother's womb until the child turns 2 years old-- is very critical in a person's intellectual development and overall health status.

This period is calculated based on nine months of pregnancy, which is equivalent to 270 days plus 2 years of 365 days. It is a unique window of opportunity during which we can intervene in order to produce healthy and high-performing individuals in the future.

This is possible by providing the right maternal and infant nutrition during the first 1,000 days. Issues pertaining to under nutrition in the early days of the child's life should be addressed as early as possible in order to prevent complications like susceptibility to common childhood infectious diseases such as pneumonia and diarrhea as well as chronic conditions like diabetes and obesity in adulthood.

Maternal Nutrition

A pregnant woman's diet should be adequate and nutritious. In the Bible, when an angel announced to Samson's mother that she would get pregnant, he gave her a practical advice. " You will be with child and will bear a son. So, take neither wine nor strong drink, and eat nothing unclean," from Judges 13:4. Because she took care of herself by eating and drinking right, this contributed to why Samson was strong and healthy. A well -balanced diet includes fresh fruits, grains and vegetables.

Choose cereals that are high in fiber and low in sugar. Most processed and commercially prepared food usually contains excessive amounts of salt, so eat them sparingly or avoid them altogether.

A pregnant woman also needs larger amounts of certain vitamins and minerals, especially iron and folic acid which should be taken early in pregnancy because they are crucial for fetal development and would help prevent anemia and neural tube defects.

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