Who keeps children alive? Grandma!

That’s the findings from a review of 45 population studies from developing and developed countries conducted by researchers at London School of Economics and University College London.

For many of us who grew up n the Caribbean, it was not uncommon to be raised partly by our grandma, great-grandma, great aunt or another mother figure. These strong women help keep us not just alive but thriving in the absence (or presence) of our mothers and fathers.

The authors concluded that “the presence of at least one relative improves the survival rates of children if the mother dies, but that relatives differ in whether they are consistently beneficial to children or not. Maternal grandmothers improve child survival rates in the majority of studies, as do elder siblings, though the latter observation is based on rather few studies.”

According to the studies, fathers had little effect on child survival. This is not to say that fathers are any less important. The authors do call for more research on the role fathers actually play in children’s lives.

Reading this made me want to kiss my granny. Unfortunately, she’s too far away. But, I’ll send her a virtual one.

So, what role did your grandma (or another maternal figure) play in your life growing up?

The full article and access to the complete study is available from LSE’s website: http://www2.lse.ac.uk/researchAndExpertise/researchHighlights/socialPolicy/theresNooneQuiteLikeGrandma.aspx

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