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Effects of a prekindergarten educational intervention on adult health: 37-Year follow-up results of a randomized controlled trial

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  • Muennig, P.
  • Schweinhart, L.
  • Montie, J.
  • Neidell, M.

Abstract

Objectives. We used 37 years of follow-up data from a randomized controlled trial to explore the linkage between an early educational intervention and adult health. Methods. We analyzed data from the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program (PPP), an early school-based intervention in which 123 children were randomized to a prekindergarten education group or a control group. In addition to exploring the effects of the program on health behavioral risk factors and health outcomes, we examined the extent to which educational attainment, income, family environment, and health insurance access mediated the relationship between randomization to PPP and behavioral and health outcomes. Results. The PPP led to improvements in educational attainment, health insurance, income, and family environment Improvements in these domains, in turn, lead to improvements in an array of behavioral risk factors and health (P=.01). However, despite these reductions in behavioral risk factors, participants did not exhibit any overall improvement in physical health outcomes by the age of 40 years. Conclusions. Early education reduces health behavioral risk factors by enhancing educational attainment, health insurance coverage, income, and family environments. Further follow-up will be needed to determine the long-term health effects of PPP.

Suggested Citation

  • Muennig, P. & Schweinhart, L. & Montie, J. & Neidell, M., 2009. "Effects of a prekindergarten educational intervention on adult health: 37-Year follow-up results of a randomized controlled trial," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 99(8), pages 1431-1437.
  • Handle: RePEc:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.2008.148353_9
    DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2008.148353
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.2105/AJPH.2008.148353
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    Cited by:

    1. David M. Cutler & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2012. "Education and Health: Insights from International Comparisons," NBER Working Papers 17738, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Gabriella Conti & James J. Heckman & Rodrigo Pinto, 2016. "The Effects of Two Influential Early Childhood Interventions on Health and Healthy Behaviour," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(596), pages 28-65, October.
    3. Geddes, Rosemary & Frank, John & Haw, Sally, 2011. "A rapid review of key strategies to improve the cognitive and social development of children in Scotland," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 101(1), pages 20-28, June.
    4. Pietro Biroli, 2016. "Health and skill formation in early childhood," UBSCENTER - Working Papers 017, UBS International Center of Economics in Society - Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    5. Samuel, Laura J. & Glass, Thomas A. & Thorpe, Roland J. & Szanton, Sarah L. & Roth, David L., 2015. "Household and neighborhood conditions partially account for associations between education and physical capacity in the National Health and Aging Trends Study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 67-75.
    6. Cawley, John, 2015. "An economy of scales: A selective review of obesity's economic causes, consequences, and solutions," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 244-268.
    7. Muennig, Peter, 2015. "Can universal pre-kindergarten programs improve population health and longevity? Mechanisms, evidence, and policy implications," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 116-123.
    8. Conti, Gabriella & Heckman, James J., 2012. "The Developmental Approach to Child and Adult Health," IZA Discussion Papers 7060, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Belfield, Clive R. & Kelly, Inas Rashad, 2013. "Early education and health outcomes of a 2001 U.S. Birth Cohort," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 310-325.

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