First 1,000 days of child's life important for brain development: UN

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In Belize, two-year-old Abner laughs while being carried by his father, James Choc. Photo: UNICEF/Roger LeMoyne

A campaign calling for greater investment and action in early childhood development has been launched by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).

The agency aims to increase awareness about the importance of the first 1,000 days of a child's life and the impact of early experiences on the developing brain.

According to the independent medical journal The Lancet, nearly 250 million children in developing countries are at risk of poor development due to stunting and poverty.

Jocelyne Sambira reports.

Parents and caregivers are being encouraged by UNICEF to talk, play, love and feed their children properly to help their brains develop.

Together with its partner the Danish LEGO Foundation, the agency has launched a campaign with the slogans #EarlyMomentsMatter and #EatPlayLove.

The new initiative engages with families in order to drive the demand for quality, affordable early childhood development services and to urge governments to invest in programmes targeting the most vulnerable children.

It highlights the importance of the first 1,000 days of a child's life and the impact of early experiences on the developing brain.

During this critical window of opportunity, brain cells can make up to 1,000 new connections every second.

These connections contribute to children's brain functioning and learning, and lay the foundation for their future health and happiness.

A lack of nurturing care and adequate nutrition as well as stress and violence can impede on the development of these connections.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’03″

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