When we talk about inequality, a number of things come to mind: how much people earn, the schools they go to and the houses they live in. Countless debates take place around the world about how best to close the gap between the richest and the poorest in our societies.
Underlying all this, though, is something even more fundamental: a child’s early years.
With the help of thousands of studies and trials, we have never known more about just how important early development is to a child’s future. Their school achievement, future wages, likelihood of going to prison, chances of having major health problems – all these factors are directly linked to children’s physical and mental growth in their first five years, and especially in their first 1,000 days.
In Jamaica, for example, a landmark study conducted in 1986-7 randomly selected a group of growth-stunted toddlers for two years of regular visits by …