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Revista CEFAC

Print version ISSN 1516-1846On-line version ISSN 1982-0216


ZUANETTI, Patrícia Aparecida; LAUS, Maria Fernanda; ALMEIDA, Sebastião de Sousa  and  FUKUDA, Marisa Tomoe Hebihara. Early undernutrition as a cause of changes in phonological processing skills. Rev. CEFAC [online]. 2019, vol.21, n.3, e19018.  Epub July 01, 2019. ISSN 1516-1846.


to determine whether undernutrition in the first years of life affects the phonological awareness skills, the phonological working memory and the school performance of children.


the participants were children with a history of moderate/severe undernutrition during their first years of life (G1) who achieved nutritional recovery (n = 15). The performance of G1 in different cognitive tasks (phonological awareness at the syllable and phoneme level, phonological working memory - repetition of digits and pseudowords, and reading, writing and arithmetic activities) was compared to that of children with school difficulties (G2) (n = 15) and without school difficulties (G3) (n = 15), all eutrophic ones.


the performance of G1 was worse than that of the other two groups in all tasks evaluated (mean score of G1, G2 and G3 and p-values: phonological awareness: 31, 41, 57 - 0.01; repetition of direct order digits: 18, 23, 28 - 0.001; writing: 4, 10, 22 - 0.001; reading: 26, 45, 65-0.001; arithmetic: 4, 7, 11- 0.001).


the results demonstrate that undernutrition affected the cognitive development, causing changes in important cognitive skills for the development of written language.

Keywords : Malnutrition; Child Language; Memory, Short-Term; Learning; Cognition.

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