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Enhanced early childhood education pays long-term dividends in better health
Date:1/14/2011

5 years of age, a depression index score, and the number of hospitalizations in the past year. Behavioral risk factors concerned traffic safety, drug use, and access to primary care. Researchers found that participants had significantly better health and health behaviors and that these findings were independent of IQ, educational attainment or health insurance status.

The original study was small, but it had a very strong effect on education. Until it came along, the benefit of education had never been proven using the gold standard in research methods-the randomized controlled trial. What we have found is that this educational intervention also reduced health risks like smoking and improved health outcomes as early as age 21," said Dr. Muennig, assistant professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia's Mailman School and principal investigator of the new study. "The health benefits were quite dramatic."

"While much remains to be learned about both the pathways linking education to health and the overall effect sizes of education on health, our study provides causal evidence in support of the hypothesis that early education enhancements may improve income, reduce crime, and even enhance the global competitiveness of the American workforce," suggests Dr. Muennig. "These interventions may be more cost effective than many traditional medical and public health approaches to improving population health.


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Contact: stephanie berger
sb2247@columbia.edu
212-305-4372
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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