Browsing by Subject "early childhood"

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  • Silventoinen, Karri; Pitkäniemi, Janne Mikael; Latvala, Antti; Kaprio, Jaakko; Yokoyama, Yoshie (2014)
    Length and weight in infancy are associated with neurodevelopment, but less is known about growth in other anthropometric measures. In this study we analyzed how the development in length, weight, head circumference, and chest circumference over infancy is associated with motor development in early childhood, using a twin study design. Information on physical development over infancy and the age at achievement of eight developmental milestones over early childhood was collected for 370 Japanese twin pairs. Linear mixed models were used to analyze how physical development is associated with motor development between individual twins, as well as within twin pairs, adjusting the results for shared maternal and postnatal environmental factors. Delayed motor development was associated with smaller body size over infancy, and we also found some suggestive evidence that it was associated with catch-up growth as well. When studying the associations within twin pairs discordant for motor development, similar associations were found. However, chest circumference showed the most robust association within discordant twin pairs. Smaller body size and rapid catch-up growth are associated with delayed motor development. When studying these associations within twin pairs and thus adjusting the results for gestational age as well as many other maternal and postnatal environmental factors, chest circumference showed the most robust association. Chest circumference, rarely used in developed countries, can offer additional information on prenatal conditions relevant for further motor development not achieved by more traditional anthropometric measures.
  • Pesonen, Noora (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Objectives. Recent results of both animal and human studies suggest that intestinal microbiota, i.e. microorganisms inhabiting the gastrointestinal system, may be connected to their host’s cognition. However, the diverse effects of intestinal microbiota are still poorly understood and especially knowledge of its associations with normative childhood cognitive development is very scarce. The purpose of the current study was to examine the possible associations between infant intestinal microbial composition, richness and diversity and cognitive performance in early childhood. Methods. The current study sample consisted of the children taking part in Finnish Health and Early Life Microbiota (HELMi) longitudinal birth cohort study. The cognitive abilities of 424 children were assessed at 2 years of age with Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, using cognitive, receptive language and expressive language subscales. Of 424 tested children, those from whom microbiota analysis for at least one fecal sample was available at the time of the start of this study, were included. Fecal samples were collected when infants were 3, 6 and 12 weeks old and 6, 9 and 12 months old, and the bacterial composition, richness and diversity were analyzed with 16S rRNA- amplicon sequencing method. Results and conclusions. Intestinal microbial composition in infancy was found to be related to cognitive abilities of the children, more specifically, receptive language skills and expressive language skills. A higher abundance of the genus Finegoldia at 12 weeks of age and the genus Serratia at 6 months of age were related to worse receptive language performance at 2 years of age. A higher abundance of the family Enterococcaceae at 12 weeks of age and the genus Alistipes at 6 months of age, were associated with worse expressive language skills. In addition, the children who scored in lowest 20th percentile in the receptive language tasks, had richer intestinal microbiota at 3 weeks and 6 months of age. Conclusions cannot yet be drawn based on these preliminary findings, but the results suggest that infant intestinal microbiota may be one of the factors influencing cognitive, especially verbal, development in early childhood.
  • Saarinen, Aino I. L.; Keltikangas-Järvinen, Liisa; Honda, Yukiko; Oksman, Elli; Raitakari, Olli; Pulkki-Råback, Laura; Hintsanen, Mirka (2020)
    This study investigated whether breastfeeding predicts offspring’s dispositional compassion and empathy from early adulthood to middle age. The parents of the participants (N = 1,394) of the Young Finns study answered questions about breastfeeding in 1983, and the participants’ compassion and empathy were evaluated in 1997‒2012 (participants were aged 20‒50 years). Breastfeeding did not predict the course of compassion or empathy in adulthood at the age of 20‒50 years. The associations remained non‐significant, when adjusted for age, gender, socioeconomic factors, and a wide range of characteristics of the family environment (including mother’s gestational age; premature birth; birth weight; number of other children at home; parental mental disorder; parental relationship status; parental postnatal smoking; parental postnatal alcohol use; parenting behavior; and child’s externalizing behavior). In conclusion, breastfeeding seems not to predict offspring’s compassion or empathy in adulthood. The findings may present a hopeful perspective for children growing up with non‐breastfeeding caregivers.
  • Veijalainen, Jouni; Reunamo, Jyrki; Sajaniemi, Nina; Suhonen, Eira (2019)
    Background: A large body of earlier research has focused on studying children's self-regulation (SR) skills and frustration with different methods. However, considerably less attention has been given to hearing children's own voice. The current study sought to demonstrate children's own comprehension and highlight it as a valuable and unique tendency to fill the scientific gap in the research area. Aim: This research aimed to contribute the empirical understanding of how SR, as mental ability, supported children's coping strategies and comprehensions which they will possibly use in a hypothetical frustrated context in the Finnish early childhood education and care (ECEC) environment. Setting: Self-regulation and strategies in a frustrating context were studied with mixed methods in a sample (n = 383) of 48-87-month-old children in Finland. Self-regulation was assessed by their own teachers with an evaluation form. The coping strategies of frustration were studied by interview where the children's open-ended descriptions provided the strategies told by themselves. Methods: The study's was conducted by using mixed methods. Two independent instruments to measure SR and strategies for frustration were used. Self-regulation was assessed by teacher with an evaluation form. The coping strategies of frustration were studied via child interview. Results: Good SR skills were related to persistent coping strategies and not giving up in a simulated situation. Weak SR skills related more with uncertain or withdrawal coping strategies, like giving up, or abandoning the situation. Conclusion: Self-regulation skills have an important role in guiding children with their use and narration of suitable coping strategies on overcoming the frustration effectively. The concrete strategies would allow teachers to work concretely with children in enhancing their SR skills and coping strategies further.
  • Veijalainen, Jouni; Reunamo, Jyrki; Heikkilä, Minna (2021)
    This paper aims to determine possible gender differences in children’s observed emotional expressions and their relationship with teacher-rated self-regulation (SR) skills in the setting of early childhood education and care (ECEC). Supporting SR and emotional wellbeing in early childhood can be considered a favourable pathway towards holistic development (e.g. Shonkoff et al. [2012]. The lifelong effects of early childhood adversity and toxic stress. Pediatrics, 129(1), e232–e246; Bagdi & Vacca [2005]. Supporting early childhood social-emotional well being: The building blocks for early learning and school success. Early Childhood Education Journal, 33(3), 145–150). The participants included 1213 (44.2%) boys and 1075 (41.0%) girls which were 13–83 months old. The SR data was collected through an evaluation instrument. Emotional expressions (N = 50480) were observed with an independent instrument. The results indicated how girls were observed to have more neutral, calm or peaceful-related emotional expressions, while boys tended to express more surprise, curiosity, anger or frustration-related emotions. Boys’ and girls’ ability for SR was related to their emotional expressions. Boys’ and girls’ SR skills had the same tendency in weak, moderate and good SR categories.
  • Ray, Carola; Campbell, Karen; Hesketh, Kylie D. (2019)
    Knowledge of the impact of health messages as an intervention strategy is sparse. The aim of this study was to explore recall and use of health behaviour messages among mothers, and whether recall is associated with child health behaviours. Intervention group data from the 15 months Melbourne Infant Feeding, Activity and Nutrition Trial (InFANT) were used (n = 127, children 4 months at commencement). Mothers recalled (unprompted then prompted) at 2 and 3.5 years post-intervention six key messages used in the program, and reported whether they had used them. Children's food intake was measured by three days of 24-h recall; physical activity by accelerometers; and television viewing by parent report. Unprompted recall ranged between 1-56% across messages and follow-up points, and 37-90% for prompted recall. The most commonly recalled messages "tap into water", "parents provide, kids decide" and "color every meal with fruit and veg" were also most commonly used. There were few associations between recall and children's health behaviours. Given the association between recall and reported use, it is important to plan messages so they resonate well with the target group and its needs. Messages should be used as one of multiple strategies within health promotion programs.
  • Veijalainen, Jouni (Helsingfors universitet, 2014)
    A child's emotional self-regulation skills affects clearly on how he/she behaves, reacts and builds his/hers understanding in different kinds of everyday activities. This research focuses on examining how children's emotional self-regulation skills occur in the everyday activities in Finnish day care and how it will effect on the children's social strategies. There were two research problems: (1) How a child's emotional self-regulation skills occur in the everyday activities in day care? And (2) How emotional self-regulation skills occur in children's social strategies? The theoretical relation of the emotional self-regulation skills and day care's every-day activities were supported by several self-regulation related international researches and theories. Child's Social Strategies were operated through Reunamo's (2007) different views of the relationships between perception and environmental change -theory. The method of this research was quantitative. The data used in this study was a part of Reunamo's (2010) Orientation project which included evaluation of the children's skills (n = 862), child observations (n = 18 364) and interviews (n = 805). 892 different children of the 47 different day cares and 17 child minders participated in the project. The instrument of the child's emotional self-regulation skills was based on teacher's likert scale evaluation of how a child recognizes his/her own feelings and how he/she can deal with them. The data was analyzed by using t-test, correlation, cross tabulation and chi-square. The results of the research brought out that children who had good emotional self-regulation skills had more often a social target on themselves than other children. Good self-regulation skills improved their ability to recognize other children's feelings and affected how they adapted to new situations with others, and to participate eagerly and with initiative to different activities. The poor skills of emotional self-regulation appeared in the child's tendency to use his/her influence and willpower towards other children. They were also strolling everywhere, seeking and waiting more often than other children. The children with poor emotional self-regulation skills didn't get involved in the day care activities as often. Nor did they use their imaginations to role play as other children did. Their social strategies were more often uncertain in social situations and they did not know how to react on them.
  • Hiilamo, Heikki Tuomas; Merikukka, Marko; Haataja, Anita (2018)
    This study asks how Finnish 6-year-olds who stay at home before school start compare in educational outcomes with children who attend public day care. Earlier studies have shown that participation in public day care can enhance school performance especially among disadvantaged children. In Finland, the child home care allowance scheme supports the home care of 6-year-olds if they have a younger sibling under the age of 3 who is also not attending public day care. We used as outcome variables grade point average after compulsory school at age 15 to 16 and dichotomous variable measuring completion of further education by age 25. The study utilized data of the birth cohort 1987 (N = 4,928). The results show that staying at home before school start is associated with poorer school performance but not with completion of further education.
  • Kyhälä, Anna-Liisa; Reunamo, Jyrki; Ruismäki, Heikki (2018)
    Physical activity (PA) is necessary for young children. The new recommendations for physical activity in early childhood in Finland suggest that daily activity consists of at least 3 hours of light-to-vigorous physical activity (LMVPA). In this article, we report preschool children’s compliance with the recommendations, PA amounts at different intensity levels, the variation between genders, and the effect of weekend on PA. The data were collected from 172 children, aged 3 to 7 years, using accelerometers during January–March 2015 for 7 days, 24 hours per day. Results revealed that compliance with the recommendations is low: 43% of the boys and 32% of the girls engaged in LMVPA for at least 3 hours per day. The variation was remarkable. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) averages ranged from 16 to 154 minutes in boys, and from 4 to 98 minutes in girls. The weekend decreased PA at all intensity levels and increased sedentary behavior by approximately 60 minutes (p < .001, = .39) in both genders. Interventions should focus on girls as a group, on boys with minimal amounts of MVPA, on reducing sedentary behavior, and on increasing weekend activity.
  • Reunamo, Jyrki; Saros, Leila; Ruismäki, Heikki (2012)
  • Morales-Munoz, Isabel; Kantojärvi, Katri; Uhre, Veli-Matti; Saarenpää-Heikkilä, Outi; Kylliäinen, Anneli; Pölkki, Pirjo; Himanen, Sari-Leena; Karlsson, Linnea; Karlsson, Hasse; Paavonen, E. Juulia; Paunio, Tiina (2021)
    Purpose: No previous research has examined the impact of the genetic background of diurnal preference on children´s sleep. Here, we examined the effects of genetic risk score for the liability of diurnal preference on sleep development in early childhood in two population-based cohorts from Finland. Participants and methods: The primary sample (CHILD-SLEEP, CS) comprised 1420 infants (695 girls), and the replication sample (FinnBrain, FB; 962 girls) 2063 infants. Parent-reported sleep duration, sleep-onset latency and bedtime were assessed at three, eight, 18 and 24 months in CS, and at six, 12 and 24 months in FB. Actigraphy-based sleep latency and efficiency were measured in CS in 365 infants at eight months (168 girls), and in 197 infants at 24 months (82 girls). Mean standard scores for each sleep domain were calculated in both samples. Polygenic risk scores (PRS) were used to quantitate the genetic risk for eveningness (PRSBestFit) and morningness (PRS10kBest). Results: PRSBestFit associated with longer sleep-onset latency and later bedtime, and PRS10kBest related to shorter sleep-onset latency in CS. The link between genetic risk for diurnal preference and sleep-onset latency was replicated in FB, and meta-analysis resulted in associations (P<0.0005) with both PRS-values (PRSBestFit: Z=3.55; and PRS10kBest: Z=-3.68). Finally, PRSBestFit was related to actigraphy-based lower sleep efficiency and longer sleep latency at eight months. Conclusion: Genetic liability to diurnal preference for eveningness relates to longer sleep-onset during the first two years of life, and to objectively measured lowered sleep efficiency. These findings enhance our understanding on the biological factors affecting sleep development, and contribute to clarify the physiological sleep architecture in early childhood.
  • Tiainen, Marta (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    The thesis is about the relationship between health and wealth. The goal is to show that they are connected to each other, and that improving health can lead to improve of wealth. The first part discusses the effect of health on wealth and vice versa. It shows that better wealth is connected to better health and health increase lead to the wealth increase. Then there is a theoretical model by Grossman (1972) and which was modified by Jacobson (2000). The model shows that the health is seen as a stock and that individual can invest into the health during the lifetime. The model shows also the change, when there is a family without children (partners can invest into each other’s health) and the family with a child (parents invest into child’s health). The wage and education effect is shown and developed by Grossman (1972). The increase in wage leads to increase in health, individual has more money to visit the doctors. The increase in education also leads to increase in health, but in this case individual gets more information on healthy lifestyle and follows it. The literature review shows how education, social status, early childhood, family and nutrition affect the health. Better educated have better health and higher income. An additional year of education increases the life. Lower socioeconomic status increases the probability of consuming unhealthy goods and being less educated. The subjective social status affects the childhood, the mental health and the income. Family plays a crucial role: the mother’s health, parents education, family’s socioeconomic status effect the health of a child and the future income. The low birth weight, mental health problems in childhood and bad nutrition lead to problems in health in the future and lower income. When the connection between health and wealth, and factors affecting the health are known, it is easier to implement policies to increase the total health and wealth. The healthy individual is more productive and it leads to economic growth, what is another topic and also widely discussed.
  • Reunamo, Jyrki; Hällström, Helena (2013)