Cómo prevenir el estrés tóxico en los niños

Cambridge – ¿Qué pasaría si los líderes políticos de todo el mundo pudieran mejorar el desempeño escolar y la preparación para entrar al mercado laboral, reducir la criminalidad y aumentar las expectativas de una vida sana –pero supieran que los resultados no se verían hasta después de que hubieran dejado el poder? ¿Tendrían el valor político para actuar ahora por los intereses a largo plazo de sus pueblos o se quedarían empantanados con intentos ineficaces y mal financiados de obtener resultados rápidamente para después decir que no se pudo?

Gracias a una extraordinaria convergencia de conocimientos científicos nuevos sobre el desarrollo del cerebro, el genoma humano y los efectos de las experiencias tempranas en el aprendizaje, la conducta y la salud más adelante, estas no son preguntas hipotéticas. Tenemos los conocimientos para asegurar nuestro futuro mediante la mejora de las perspectivas de vida de todos nuestros niños pequeños. Lo que nos falta ahora es voluntad política y liderazgo.

Los científicos ya pueden afirmar de manera creíble que en los primeros años de la infancia –desde el nacimiento hasta los cinco años de edad—se crean las bases de la productividad económica, la ciudadanía responsable y una vida de buena salud física y mental. Por el contrario, la pobreza extrema, los abusos, el abandono y la exposición a la violencia en la primera infancia pueden conducir al estrés tóxico.  

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