Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Early Childhood Development

The first years of a child's life are some of the most important in terms of cognitive, social, and physical development. Early experiences occurring when a child's brain and behavior are being shaped affect a child's ability to learn, to get along with others, and to develop an overall state of well-being. Unfortunately, not all children have the same positive experiences or opportunities, which can lead to disparities. Social, economic, and environmental factors have been closely linked to health disparities.

Research suggests that many disparities in overall health and well-being are rooted in early childhood. For example, those who lived in poverty as young children are more at-risk for leading causes of illness and death, and are more likely to experience poor quality of life. This growing problem costs the United States billions of dollars annually.

Our understanding of the lasting value of early experiences continues to grow. Interventions that support healthy development in early childhood reduce disparities, have lifelong positive impacts, and are prudent investments. Addressing these disparities effectively offers opportunities to help children, and benefits our society as a whole. View pdf of CDC Grandrounds presentation on Early Child Development. Together we can address health disparities in early childhood through increased collaborations, public health partnerships, and early intervention.

The Jeffco Community Health Improvement Network was formed in 2015. The Network is comprised of over 200 members working together to increase physical activity, healthy eating, and psyshosocial well-being among low-income families with children 0-18. By working together, partners throughout the county plan to use a collective impact framework to collaboratively and strategically improve the health and well-being of our community.

Jefferson County Public Health’s home visitation programs such as Prenatal Plus, Nurse Family Partnership and the Family Collaboration Programs as well as its HEAL in Early Childhood and Clinic Services provide the support necessary to keep children and their families healthy. The Community Health Services Division implements evidence-based prevention strategies to reduce health disparities and promote health equity to positively impact later health, well-being, education and productivity and self-sufficiency.

This article can also be found here: http://www.cdc.gov/cdcgrandrounds/archives/2016/march2016.htm

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