The report describes the health status and incidence of health-related problems among 3001 children enrolled in Early Head Start (EHS) research in 17 diverse sites. The data were collected in conjunction with the EHS Research and Evaluation project, conducted by Mathematica Policy Research, Columbia University National Center for Children and Families, and the EHS Research Consortium of researchers from 15 universities, when children were 14, 24, and 36 months of age, and periodically after enrollment into the research project. Immunization rates for EHS children were significantly higher than for control group children, who did not receive EHS. EHS children were also more likely to have visited a doctor for treatment of illness, and were less likely to have visited the emergency room due to accident or injury. Incidence of asthma and respiratory problems were high. Children exposed to household smoking were more likely to have asthma problems, with 57 percent of EHS children exposed to household smoke in all. Most parents used safety precautions, but parents needed more information on poison control measures. Almost all parents used car seats for infants. However, car seat use declined for EHS toddlers, as parents were not always able to replace car seats as children grew. A number of EHS programs have instituted programs for exchanging car seats as children grow larger. Of the women who enrolled during pregnancy, women enrolled in EHS were more likely to breast feed their infants. Hispanic children fared worse, on average, than African-American and white EHS children. Hispanic children were less likely to have health insurance and regular health care providers than African-American or white children, and Hispanic parents were more likely to report their children were in fair or poor health.
PIC ID: 8253; Agency Sponsor: ACF-OPRE, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation; Federal Contact: Cohen, Rachel Chazan, 202-205-8810; Performer: Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., Princeton, NJ