Latina mothers from low-income households have healthy babies compared with women from other ethnic groups, but their children lag behind their non-Latina middle-class counterparts in developing cognitive skills from the ages of 9 months to 2 years, according to a study released by the University of California, Berkeley.
The study is scheduled to be published in the Maternal and Child Health Journal. A companion study about Latinos’ early development will also be published this fall in the medical journal Pediatrics.
The researchers, led by Bruce Fuller, a professor of education and public policy at the University of California at Berkeley, looked at two subgroups of disadvantaged Latina mothers. Both groups of women had strong prenatal practices and tended not, for example, to smoke or drink while pregnant.
But the Mexican-American mothers also are not likely to have received much education, and that may be one reason why their children soon fall behind middle-class children in language and cognitive development, the study says.
A version of this article appeared in the October 28, 2009 edition of Education Week as Latino Children