Spend a Little, Live a Lot: Why Investing in Early Learning Means a Lifetime of Good Health

To improve the health of all Americans, we should invest in early childhood education programs. That’s according to a new set of recommendations from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Commission to Build a Healthier America released this week that lays out strategies to improve the health of our nation, including making childhood education and programs a high priority.

 

RWJF Commission’s Time to Act: Investing in the Health of our Children and Communities explores key factors that determine good health and how building a strong foundation in a child’s early years can lead to healthy lifestyles into adulthood.

 

Currently, the U.S. ranks 25th out of 29 developed countries in public spending on early childhood education.

 

In order to invest in America’s youngest and nurture their early learning and well-being, the RWJF Commission recommends:

 

  • Create high-quality early childhood programs. Fund program quality, and guarantee access to enrollment for all low-income children under 5 in programs that meet new standards by 2025.
  • Help struggling parents provide healthy, nurturing experiences for their children. Communities should strengthen families and help break the cycle of disadvantage.
  • Invest in research and innovation. Latest research will determine best childhood programs. Innovation sparks new strategies for greater impact.   

The Report goes on to mention real-life examples of how cross-sector collaboration and opportunities are paving the way for health initiatives throughout the nation.

 

The facts are almost half (48%) of our nation’s children under age 3 live in low-income families. And our infants and toddlers are more diverse than ever, one quarter (25.5%) are Latino and more likely to live in poverty than White infants.

 

As the premier convener of Latino policymakers across all office levels, NALEO Educational Fund ensures policymakers have the governance skills, best practice models, and knowledge, like the RWJF Commission report, to become champions for change in their constituencies. To create a better future for our nation’s Latino early learners and to address disparities in childhood education, like access to child development programs that are critical for Latino youth to advance into higher education and achieve good health, NALEO Educational Fund continues to provide professional development opportunities for policymakers across the country.

 

YOU can TAKE ACTION! Individuals, community leaders, employeers, parents and teachers can learn how to identify opportunities for change in their communities and push for early learning programs. To DOWNLOAD the Time to Act report, click here

 

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