Research continues to show long-lasting positive impacts, like increased educational attainment, higher earnings potential and reductions in crime, for children who receive high quality early childhood education. A recently released study further builds the case for quality early learning opportunities for all children.

The Abecedarian Project, a long term study on health and early education, found that people who participated in an early education program which included education, meals, and medical care such as screenings and check-ups had better health outcomes thirty years later in life than those who did not participate in the program.

The group had significantly lower rates of obesity, lower BMI’s (body mass index), and higher levels of good cholesterol. Males were less likely to fall into the stage one hypertension category. Women were less likely to be affected by abdominal obesity and less likely to experience pre-hypertension. Men and women that participated in the project were also at a lower risk for total coronary heart disease.

This study has great implications for the Commonwealth, which continues to struggle with high rates chronic disease and other health issues. One in three Kentuckians are obese.  We also rank 47th in the nation for heart disease and have a high rate of cancer deaths. Pediatricians in Kentucky continue to see an increase in the number of children diagnosed with type-2 diabetes.

Watch the video for a fast and easy explanation of the Abecedarian Project and the importance of early childhood education and healthy habits. It’s another reason we ask our state and federal leaders to invest in quality early learning opportunities for children. It helps children as they are young and into adulthood.