Special Issue "Early Influences on Child Health and Wellbeing"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Children's Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Genevieve Becker
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
B.E.S.T. (Breastfeeding Education Support and Training) Services, 2 Kylemore Park, Taylor’s Hill, Galway City H91T22T, Ireland
Interests: maternal, infant and young child feeding; assessment of quality of care; health policy and practice implementation; health worker education; health promotion
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Maria Noonan
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland
Interests: infant feeding; perinatal mental wellbeing; midwifery education

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The period of pregnancy and the first two years of a child’s life (first 1000 days) encompass multiple factors that can influence the long-term health and economics for the individual child, their family, and the wider community. Many of these early life factors can be encouraged and supported as positive influences, or reduced and discouraged when they are negative influences. These factors may include nutrition of mother or child, birth practices, mental health of the parents, support systems, environment, family or broader economics, government policies, marketing of products and practices, employment, and use of time, among other factors.

We invite authors to submit original research papers or systematic review papers for the Special Issue entitled “Early Influences on Child Health and Wellbeing”. Our aim is to cover a wide range of topics and perspectives related to the first 1000 days, not only in the basic research domain, but also related to interventions for the promotion, support, and protection of health and wellbeing. Papers reporting on methodological aspects of research in this area will also be considered.

Dr. Genevieve Becker
Dr. Maria Noonan
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Child development
  • Parental wellbeing
  • Health determinants
  • Healthcare workers
  • Nutrition
  • Early childhood
  • Infant
  • Perinatal

Published Papers (9 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review, Other

Open AccessArticle
Building a Predictive Model of Social-Emotional Adjustment: Exploring the Relationship between Parenting Self-Efficacy, Parenting Behaviour and Psychological Distress in Mothers of Young Children in Ireland
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(6), 2861; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18062861 - 11 Mar 2021
Viewed by 607
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to generate greater understanding of social-emotional difficulties in infants and toddlers in an Irish context. This study compared rates of reported social-emotional difficulties in young children in clinical and non-clinical samples and probed a predictive model of [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to generate greater understanding of social-emotional difficulties in infants and toddlers in an Irish context. This study compared rates of reported social-emotional difficulties in young children in clinical and non-clinical samples and probed a predictive model of social-emotional adjustment. Data were collected from a cross-sectional sample of 72 mothers of young children aged between 12 and 48 months. Mothers were recruited from waiting lists for child Early Intervention services (clinical sample) and community mother-toddler groups (non-clinical sample). Mothers completed a questionnaire battery which assessed parenting self-efficacy, parenting behaviour, psychological distress and child social-emotional adjustment. The results indicated that 55.5% of young children in the clinical sample and 15% in the non-clinical sample had significant social-emotional problems. Similarly, 55.5% of young children in the clinical sample and 30% in the non-clinical sample had significant delays in the acquisition of social-emotional competencies. Two hierarchical multiple regressions were carried out with social-emotional problems and social-emotional competencies as the respective criterion variables. Clinical or non-clinical group membership, parenting satisfaction and maternal psychological distress were found to be significant predictors of child social-emotional problems in a model which explained 59% of the variance. Task-specific self-efficacy was the only significant predictor of child social-emotional competencies in a model which explained 21% of the variance. The significant rates of social-emotional problems in young children in the current study and the potential negative impact on child health and wellbeing, suggest that the early assessment of social-emotional adjustment should be incorporated into routine clinical assessment for young children. For services to effectively meet the needs of children with social-emotional difficulties and their families, consideration of maternal factors is also necessary. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Early Influences on Child Health and Wellbeing)
Open AccessArticle
Prenatal Sociodemographic Factors Predicting Maltreatment of Children up to 3 Years Old: A Prospective Cohort Study Using Administrative Data in Japan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(5), 2505; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052505 - 03 Mar 2021
Viewed by 589
Abstract
Identifying risk factors from pregnancy is essential for preventing child maltreatment. However, few studies have explored prenatal risk factors assessed at pregnancy registration. This study aimed to identify prenatal risk factors for child maltreatment during the first three years of life using population-level [...] Read more.
Identifying risk factors from pregnancy is essential for preventing child maltreatment. However, few studies have explored prenatal risk factors assessed at pregnancy registration. This study aimed to identify prenatal risk factors for child maltreatment during the first three years of life using population-level survey data from pregnancy notification forms. This prospective cohort study targeted all mothers and their infants enrolled for a 3- to 4-month-old health check between October 2013 and February 2014 in five municipalities in Aichi Prefecture, Japan, and followed them until the child turned 3 years old. Administrative records of registration with Regional Councils for Children Requiring Care (RCCRC), which is suggestive of child maltreatment cases, were linked with survey data from pregnancy notification forms registered at municipalities (n = 893). Exact logistic regression was used for analysis. A total of 11 children (1.2%) were registered with RCCRC by 3 years of age. Unmarried marital status, history of artificial abortion, and smoking during pregnancy were significantly associated with child maltreatment. Prenatal risk scores calculated as the sum of these prenatal risk factors, ranging from 0 to 7, showed high predictive power (area under receiver operating characteristic curve 0.805; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.660–0.950) at a cut-off score of 2 (sensitivity = 72.7%, specificity = 83.2%). These findings suggest that variables from pregnancy notification forms may be predictors of the risk for child maltreatment by the age of three. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Early Influences on Child Health and Wellbeing)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Old Tricks, New Opportunities: How Companies Violate the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes and Undermine Maternal and Child Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(5), 2381; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052381 - 01 Mar 2021
Viewed by 6382
Abstract
Breastfeeding is critical to maternal and child health and survival, and the benefits persist until later in life. Inappropriate marketing of breastmilk substitutes (BMS), feeding bottles, and teats threatens the enabling environment of breastfeeding, and exacerbates child mortality, morbidity, and malnutrition, especially in [...] Read more.
Breastfeeding is critical to maternal and child health and survival, and the benefits persist until later in life. Inappropriate marketing of breastmilk substitutes (BMS), feeding bottles, and teats threatens the enabling environment of breastfeeding, and exacerbates child mortality, morbidity, and malnutrition, especially in the context of COVID-19. These tactics also violate the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes. This study identified marketing tactics of BMS companies since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic by reviewing promotional materials and activities from 9 companies in 14 countries, and the official Code reporting data from the Philippines. Eight qualitative themes emerged that indicate companies are capitalizing on fear related to COVID-19 by using health claims and misinformation about breastfeeding. Other promotional tactics such as donations and services were used to harness the public sentiment of hope and solidarity. Past studies show that these tactics are not new, but the pandemic has provided a new entry point, helped along by the unprecedented boom in digital marketing. There was a sharp increase of reported violations in the Philippines since the pandemic: 291 during the first months of the outbreak compared with 70 in all of 2019, corroborating the thematic findings. A lack of public awareness about the harm of donations and inadequate Code implementation and enforcement have exacerbated these problems. Proposed immediate action includes using monitoring findings to inform World Health Assembly (WHA) actions, targeted enforcement, and addressing misinformation about breastfeeding in the context of COVID-19. Longer-term action includes holding social media platforms accountable, raising public awareness on the Code, and mobilizing community monitoring. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Early Influences on Child Health and Wellbeing)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
“They Just Need to Come Down a Little Bit to Your Level”: A Qualitative Study of Parents’ Views and Experiences of Early Life Interventions to Promote Healthy Growth and Associated Behaviours
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(10), 3605; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17103605 - 21 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2047
Abstract
The first 1000 days is a critical window of opportunity to promote healthy growth and associated behaviours. Health professionals can play an important role, in part due to the large number of routine contacts they have with parents. There is an absence of [...] Read more.
The first 1000 days is a critical window of opportunity to promote healthy growth and associated behaviours. Health professionals can play an important role, in part due to the large number of routine contacts they have with parents. There is an absence of research on the views of parents towards obesity prevention and the range of associated behaviours during this time period. This study aimed to elicit parents’ views on early life interventions to promote healthy growth/prevent childhood obesity, particularly those delivered by health professionals. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 29 parents (24 mothers, 5 fathers) who were resident in Ireland and had at least one child aged under 30 months. Data were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis. Two central themes were generated: (1) navigating the uncertainty, stress, worries, and challenges of parenting whilst under scrutiny and (2) accessing support in the broader system. Parents would welcome support during this critical time period; particularly around feeding. Such support, however, needs to be practical, realistic, evidence-based, timely, accessible, multi-level, non-judgemental, and from trusted sources, including both health professionals and peers. Interventions to promote healthy growth and related behaviours need to be developed and implemented in a way that supports parents and their views and circumstances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Early Influences on Child Health and Wellbeing)
Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Sensitivity of Nutrition Indicators to Measure the Impact of a Multi-Sectoral Intervention: Cross-Sectional, Household, and Individual Level Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(9), 3121; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093121 - 30 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 944
Abstract
Interventions tackling multiple drivers of child malnutrition have potential, yet the evidence is limited and draws on different analysis and nutrition outcomes, reducing comparability. To better understand the advantages and disadvantages of three different analytical approaches on seven common nutrition indicators, we use [...] Read more.
Interventions tackling multiple drivers of child malnutrition have potential, yet the evidence is limited and draws on different analysis and nutrition outcomes, reducing comparability. To better understand the advantages and disadvantages of three different analytical approaches on seven common nutrition indicators, we use panel data (2012, 2014, 2015) on 1420 households from a randomized control study of a multi-sectoral intervention in Chad. We compare program impact using three types of analysis: a cross-sectional analysis of non-matched children; a panel analysis on longitudinal outcomes following the worst-off child in the household; and a panel analysis on longitudinal outcomes of matched children. We find that the sensitivity of the nutrition outcomes to program impact increases with each subsequent analytical approach, despite the reduction in sample size, as the analysis is able to control for more non-measured child and household characteristics. In the matched child panel analysis, the odds of a child being severely wasted were 76% lower (CI: 0.59–0.86, p = 0.001), the odds of being underweight were 33% lower (CI: 0.15–0.48, p = 0.012), and weight-for-height z-score was 0.19 standard deviations higher (CI: 0.09–0.28, p = 0.022) in the treatment versus control group. The study provides evidence for multi-sectoral interventions to tackle acute malnutrition and recommends the best practice analytical approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Early Influences on Child Health and Wellbeing)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research, Other

Open AccessReview
Measuring Mothers’ Viewpoints of Breast Pump Usage
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 3883; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18083883 - 07 Apr 2021
Viewed by 409
Abstract
Breastfeeding has short- and long-term positive influences on the health and wellbeing of the child. There are situations where breastfeeding does not occur and expressed or pumped mother’s milk is used. Mothers and healthcare providers report problems or negative views on using pumps [...] Read more.
Breastfeeding has short- and long-term positive influences on the health and wellbeing of the child. There are situations where breastfeeding does not occur and expressed or pumped mother’s milk is used. Mothers and healthcare providers report problems or negative views on using pumps in studies across the globe. This systematic review and secondary analysis of 18 random control trials related to mothers’ views of breast pumps examines the range of viewpoints gathered, the variety of measurement instruments used, how the outcomes are reported and the challenges that occur. It aims to inform critical reading of research as well as future research design. Devices which the mother views as comfortable and useful will facilitate more infants to receive human milk when direct breastfeeding does not occur, and they will have a positive influence on health and wellbeing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Early Influences on Child Health and Wellbeing)
Open AccessReview
Association between Viral Infections and Risk of Autistic Disorder: An Overview
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(6), 2817; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18062817 - 10 Mar 2021
Viewed by 765
Abstract
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition of the central nervous system (CNS) that presents with severe communication problems, impairment of social interactions, and stereotypic behaviours. Emerging studies indicate possible associations between viral infections and neurodegenerative and neurobehavioural conditions including autism. Viral [...] Read more.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition of the central nervous system (CNS) that presents with severe communication problems, impairment of social interactions, and stereotypic behaviours. Emerging studies indicate possible associations between viral infections and neurodegenerative and neurobehavioural conditions including autism. Viral infection during critical periods of early in utero neurodevelopment may lead to increased risk of autism in the offspring. This review is aimed at highlighting the association between viral infections, including viruses similar to COVID-19, and the aetiology of autism. A literature search was conducted using Pubmed, Ovid/Medline, and Google Scholar database. Relevant search terms included “rubella and autism”, “cytomegalovirus and autism”, “influenza virus and autism”, “Zika virus and autism”, “COVID-19 and autism”. Based on the search terms, a total of 141 articles were obtained and studies on infants or children with congenital or perinatal viral infection and autistic behaviour were evaluated. The possible mechanisms by which viral infections could lead to autism include direct teratogenic effects and indirect effects of inflammation or maternal immune activation on the developing brain. Brain imaging studies have shown that the ensuing immune response from these viral infections could lead to disruption of the development of brain regions and structures. Hence, long-term follow up is necessary for infants whose mothers report an inflammatory event due to viral infection at any time during pregnancy to monitor for signs of autism. Research into the role of viral infection in the development of ASD may be one avenue of improving ASD outcomes in the future. Early screening and diagnosis to detect, and maybe even prevent ASD are essential to reduce the burden of this condition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Early Influences on Child Health and Wellbeing)
Open AccessReview
The Paternal Experience of Fear of Childbirth: An Integrative Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(3), 1231; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18031231 - 29 Jan 2021
Viewed by 626
Abstract
Background: It is estimated that approximately 13% of expectant fathers experience a pathological and debilitating fear of childbirth. Objective: The aim of this integrative review was to examine and synthesise the current body of research relating to paternal experience of fear of childbirth. [...] Read more.
Background: It is estimated that approximately 13% of expectant fathers experience a pathological and debilitating fear of childbirth. Objective: The aim of this integrative review was to examine and synthesise the current body of research relating to paternal experience of fear of childbirth. Methods: A systematic literature search of five databases—CINAHL, Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, PsycArticles and PsycInfo—identified seventeen papers. Methodological quality of studies was assessed using the Crowe Critical Appraisal Tool. Results: Thematic data analysis identified three themes: the focus of fathers’ childbirth-related fears, the impact of fear of childbirth on health and wellbeing, and fear of childbirth as a private burden. Discussion: Fear of childbirth is a significant and distressing experience for expectant fathers who may benefit from an opportunity to express their childbirth-related fears in an environment where they feel validated and supported. Antenatal education is recommended to enhance fathers’ childbirth-related self-efficacy to reduce fear of childbirth. Conclusions: Fear of childbirth may negatively impact the lives of men and consequently their families. Further investigation into methods and models for identifying and supporting men at risk of or experiencing fear of childbirth is required to improve outcomes for this population of men. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Early Influences on Child Health and Wellbeing)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Other

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessViewpoint
Marketing Breastfeeding Substitutes: A Discussion Document
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9239; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249239 - 10 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1497
Abstract
Marketing influences knowledge, attitudes, and decisions related to infant and young child nutrition, safety, development, parental confidence, and other aspects of health and wellbeing of the child. These attitudes and behaviours of parents, health workers, policy makers, and other influencers have short- and [...] Read more.
Marketing influences knowledge, attitudes, and decisions related to infant and young child nutrition, safety, development, parental confidence, and other aspects of health and wellbeing of the child. These attitudes and behaviours of parents, health workers, policy makers, and other influencers have short- and long-term effects on the child. There is an International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes. Is it time to have a code of marketing of breastfeeding substitutes? Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Early Influences on Child Health and Wellbeing)
Back to TopTop