Pérez Escamilla: Mexico lagging. Pérez Escamilla: Mexico lagging.

Deficiencies noted in child development

Mexico needs to spend more on health and education, says nutrition expert

Fifteen per cent of Mexican children aged four are lagging in early childhood development, says an internationally recognized expert in community nutrition, and present deficiencies in motor, cognitive, language, psychoemotional and social skills.


While only 7% of Mexican infants are lagging in development at the age of one year, the percentage doubles during the next three years of their lives, according to Yale University School of Public Health professor Rafael Pérez Escamilla.

“Mexico is one of the regions of the world where fewer than 20% of children are at risk of poor development, but that figure remains extraordinarily high and is unacceptable given that we know what to do to prevent the problem,” Pérez Escamilla said in an interview.

He explained that there are several factors that have a negative impact on early childhood development, including malnutrition, domestic violence, lack of access to quality education and health care and poor investment in early stimulation.

In order for Mexico to correct the situation, he said, the government would have to invest two or three times more in health and education than it currently does.

Pérez Escamilla observed that those who are denied proper development during early childhood will earn 25% less during their working lives.

Historically, money allocated to such development has not been seen as an investment but as an expense, said Ricardo Bucio, executive secretary of the National System for the Protection of Girls, Boys and Adolescents, while the head of social services organization Un Kilo de Ayuda warned that the country lacks a thorough early childhood development policy.


“This explains why, despite all the efforts, we rank low in standardized tests like PISA,” said José Ignacio Ávalos.

“The high levels of criminality and delinquency are also explained by this, as is the reality that more than 50% of the population cannot break out of the poverty cycle,” he stated.

Antonio Rizzoli, founder of the neurodevelopment research unit at the Children’s Hospital of Mexico, said the federal government’s social development program Prospera allocates 246 pesos (US $12) per child per year to promote early stimulation.

According to the Inter-American Development Bank, that figure should be US $200, he said.

Source: Reforma (sp)

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  • Happygirl

    How can you have healthy well adjusted children when the child’s parents can’t afford good food and decent housing? Parents that have a minimal education and parents that know their children will do no better…because of a failed educational system.Where will the money come from for the necessary programs? When will people earn a decent living wage so they can eat ,live well and save for their children’s future? Where are the libraries? So future mothers and fathers can learn about prenatal and postnatal care, family planning and how to parent and become a strong family unit….libraries where children can go for story time, where they can take home books to read and open their minds to the world and the joy of learning. Today, I saw a mother working at a roadside stall, her child strapped into an umbrella stroller…unable to get out and explore its world because of the ever present danger. I do not blame the mother…their lives are tough. Why is it that 50% of the population can’t breakout of poverty? Because the elected officials do not and cannot relate to the poor.

    • Hailey Mannering

      In some cases, poverty´s partly because of the behaviour of the poor. I don´t mean that to be condescending. People are free to live as they please, but we all pay consequences for our choices.

    • charlette

      The kids do not have to go to school there, it is the kids choice. Not many want to go and their parents do not make them. That is why they have no education. The few kids that do go, or their parents make them go, do much better then the others.

  • jdwfinger

    There is no money left for students after the teachers and the union steal most of the money… Just another day in a third world country

  • K. Chris C.

    Translation: “We need to steal more from you via taxes and debt, so as to, we promise, spend more to alleviate some of the health problems caused by our past thefts from you. And I need a bigger pool, and am planning on taking the family to Disney World this year.”

    An American citizen, not US subject.

  • Hailey Mannering

    Not meaning to sound unkind, but there is alot of inbreeding in small villages in Yucatan state (for example) that should be addressed.

  • charlette

    They need to pay workers enough to be able to feed their families decent food. I lived down there for over a year and a half. I planted a garden and I caught kids 6 years old stealing vegetables from me. Their parents anted them so they could sell to buy meat.

  • WestCoastHwy

    The Irony is that Mexico has Deficiencies in all of it’s Institutions so WTF? Todo Mundo, knows Mexico is a Third World Country and will continue unless it changes it’s Culture which I wouldn’t hold my Breath!