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Improved Use of Toilets Boosts Childhood Test Scores, Decreases Stunting

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Access to improved sanitation can increase cognition in children, according to a new World Bank study. The study contributes to a growing body of research linking stunting and open defecation. Currently, more than 2.5 billion people worldwide lack access to toilets, and one billion people practice open defecation. 

The recent World Bank policy research working paper, Effects of Early-Life Exposure to Sanitation on Childhood Cognitive Skills, released ahead of the first official UN World Toilet Day on November 19, studied the effects on childhood cognitive achievement of early life exposure to India’s Total Sanitation Campaign, a national scale government program that encouraged local governments to build and promote use of inexpensive pit latrines.

Read more about this research

Date: 19 November 2013