It Starts With a Hug

Poverty. It’s a word at the root of much debate. What causes it? Who’s accountable? How can we solve it? Now after twenty years of research, scientists are suggesting that ‘toxic stress’ in early life may be to blame, and preventing poverty may be as simple as giving a child a hug.

According to the New York Times, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a milestone warning that ‘toxic stress’ can harm a child for life. ‘Toxic stress’ can be caused by parental drug or alcohol abuse, physical abuse or neglect, and disrupts a child’s metabolism and changes the wiring of their brain.

The good news? The same research shows that affection defuses this toxic stress. By simply ensuring young children receive a daily dose of hugs, lullabies and cuddles, we can help give them the very best start in life and contribute to their long term wellbeing.

Research on the subject is growing, but scientists are already urging society that if we want poverty to become a thing of the past we need to start earlier. After all – it all starts with something as simple as a hug.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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