The First Decade: Health & Nutrition

How Scarcity Can Hijack The Brain

May 19, 2015

Studies show that growing up below the poverty line can have serious health implications, but can it have a lasting effect on the brain? We continue NHPR’s series The First Decade with a look at how scarcity can hijack a person’s neural pathways in the brain. Eldar Shafir is Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs at Princeton University, where he studies human behavior and decision making in the context of poverty. He is co-author of the book Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much.

The First Decade: Children's Nutrition

May 19, 2015
USDA / Flickr/CC

While New Hampshire has the nation’s lowest official poverty rate, malnourishment is an issue for many low income kids.  And with many short and long-term consequences of poor nutrition in children, the stakes are high. We’re looking at why some kids don’t get enough healthy food, the impacts on their developing brains and bodies,  and some efforts to address this.

Isaias via Flickr CC

In 2000, a committee of researchers compiled nearly a century of knowledge on how children develop from birth to age five. The findings, published in a 600-page book titled From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development, covered everything from the long-standing debate over “nature vs. nurture” to the latest breakthroughs in neuroscience.

David Wilson/Imelda via Flickr CC

As with other health markers, N.H. consistently ranks high in measures of youth dental health and, overall, the state of children's teeth in New Hampshire is strong.

But in some of the state's least affluent areas, health outcomes are generally poor, and dental health is no exception. 

Can Fixing A Child's Environment Help Fix Her Teeth?

May 19, 2015
Jack Rodolico

You probably never would have guessed it, but one of the front lines of public health in New Hampshire is on the second floor of an elementary school in Claremont - in a storage closet. Here a dental hygienist meets with a second grade girl to talk teeth.