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Child development and long-term outcomes: A population health perspective and summary of successful interventions


  • Hertzman, C.
  • Wiens, M.


Studies of socioeconomic gradients in mortality in wealthy societies reveal that they have been persistent, and included most of the principal causes of death, even during the era when these principal causes of death have entirely changed. This observation has led to an interest in the ways in which the diversity of conditions of life, unfolding over the life cycle, can become embedded in human biology and subsequently affect health status and vitality. There is evidence that childhood experiences affect subsequent health status (as well as well-being and competence) in profound and long-lasting ways. Conflicting explanatory models of the impact of childhood experiences have been advanced, whose conflicts are political in nature, in that they reflect divergent beliefs about how human potential expresses itself, and, also, about the nature of the obligations which members of society have to one another. Notwithstanding these conflicts, a body of evidence derived from intervention studies in the post-neonatal, preschool, and school age periods suggest that performance in two basic domains of child development, the cognitive and the social-emotional, can be modified in ways which improve health, well-being, and competence in the long-term.

Suggested Citation

  • Hertzman, C. & Wiens, M., 1996. "Child development and long-term outcomes: A population health perspective and summary of successful interventions," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 43(7), pages 1083-1095, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:43:y:1996:i:7:p:1083-1095

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Rosemary Hyson & Janet Currie, 1999. "Is the Impact of Health Shocks Cushioned by Socioeconomic Status? The Case of Low Birthweight," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 245-250, May.
    3. Michael H. Boyle & J. Douglas Willms, 2002. "Impact Evaluation of a National, Community-Based Program for At-Risk Children in Canada," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 28(3), pages 461-481, September.
    4. Ramesh Raghavan & Anna Alexandrova, 2015. "Toward a Theory of Child Well-Being," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 121(3), pages 887-902, April.
    5. De Wet, Nicole, 2019. "The association between mother's socioeconomic status and non-orphan kinship care arrangements in South Africa," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 79-86.
    6. Magdalena Janus & Sally Brinkman & Eric Duku, 2011. "Validity and Psychometric Properties of the Early Development Instrument in Canada, Australia, United States, and Jamaica," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 103(2), pages 283-297, September.
    7. Chen, Yuyu & Zhou, Li-An, 2007. "The long-term health and economic consequences of the 1959-1961 famine in China," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 659-681, July.
    8. Needham, Belinda L. & Fernandez, Jose R. & Lin, Jue & Epel, Elissa S. & Blackburn, Elizabeth H., 2012. "Socioeconomic status and cell aging in children," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(12), pages 1948-1951.
    9. Ajzenman, Nicolas & López Bóo, Florencia, 2019. "Lessons from Behavioral Economics to Improve Treatment Adherence in Parenting Programs: An Application to SMS," IZA Discussion Papers 12808, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Manning, Matthew & Homel, Ross & Smith, Christine, 2010. "A meta-analysis of the effects of early developmental prevention programs in at-risk populations on non-health outcomes in adolescence," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 506-519, April.
    11. Stefania Maggi & Lori G. Irwin & Arjumand Siddiqi & Iraj Poureslami & Emily Hertzman & Clyde Hertzman, 2006. "Analytic and Strategic Review Paper: International Perspectives on Early Child Development," Working Papers id:690, eSocialSciences.
    12. Murasko, Jason E., 2008. "An evaluation of the age-profile in the relationship between household income and the health of children in the United States," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 1489-1502, December.


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