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Early childhood health interventions could save billions in health costs later in life
Date:5/15/2009

Promoting the health of young children, before five years of age, could save society up to $65 billion in future health care costs, according to an examination of childhood health conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The results are published in the May 15, 2009, issue of Academic Pediatrics.

"Our review found convincing evidence that the four health problems we studiedearly life tobacco exposure, unintentional injury, obesity and mental healthconstitute significant burdens on the health of preschool-age children and are antecedents of health problems across the life span," said Bernard Guyer, MD, lead author of the study and the Zanvyl Kreiger Professor of Children's Health with the Bloomberg School's Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health. "These health problems affect approximately one-third to one-half of children born in the U.S., and we estimated that total lifetime societal cost could be about $50,000 per childwhich translates to $65100 billion for the entire birth cohort of children. The currently available research justifies targeted investments in early childhood health promotion as a means to averting future health costs and improving overall health during their life span."

Researchers conducted a systematic review of early childhood interventions using multiple health databases: PubMEd, PsycINFO, National Health Service Economic Evaluation Database, the National Bureau of Economic Research working paper database and EconLit. Guyer and his colleagues examined the magnitude of the future effects of tobacco exposure, unintentional injury, obesity and mental health. They looked at prevalence of these issues during the target age period, their cost implications across the life span, the availability of preventive interventions in this period of life and evidence indicating that prevention of these problems early in life would pay off or save costs in the future. Re
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Contact: Natalie Wood-Wright
nwoodwri@jhsph.edu
410-614-6029
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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