6 May 2018 10:23:10A study conducted by the International Academy of Health Policy and Management (IAHPM) and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) found that children who were given primary school education in countries where there was a shortage of primary school teachers had higher rates of respiratory infections and asthma.
The study, titled Children of the Global Hunger Crisis: A Global Perspective, was published in the International Journal of Public Health.
Dr Tania Breen, from the IAHPM, said: ‘The effects of early education on childhood health have long been known but little was known about how early learning affects children’s long-term health and wellbeing.’
We wanted to understand how early education impacts on childrens health and what factors affect childrens well-being at this early age.’
The study involved 1,095 children from 24 countries in the world’s poorest countries and found that the children who had been educated to at least 12 years old had a significantly lower prevalence of asthma, COPD, respiratory infections, and wheezing than children who did not receive education.’
Teaching to children in the poorest countries is a critical component of our strategies to tackle the global poverty crisis,’ said Dr Breen.’
This study helps to inform the delivery of such programmes in the most vulnerable countries and shows that early learning has important effects on children.’
The children were divided into two groups, those who had received primary school and those who did.
‘This allows us to compare the effect of education and early childhood on children and their health outcomes,’ said the study’s lead author, Dr Maria Eriksen.
‘The children in our study had higher levels of asthma and COPD in comparison to children who received education in the United States or Germany.’
The research, conducted between 2000 and 2013, focused on a combination of school and health outcomes, as well as socioeconomic factors.
The IAH PM is a global research and education organization with over 350 member organisations, with a network of researchers, policy makers, clinicians and policy experts in almost 120 countries.
It is also the lead organisation for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) programme that aims to end the child hunger crisis by 2030.
The findings of this study were presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) annual meeting in Washington DC on May 5.
Professor Mark H. Bartsch, chair of the Department of Health and Human Services at Indiana University, commented: ‘Teaching in schools has long been a critical part of global health strategies to combat the global child poverty crisis.’
While primary school is the best way to ensure children have access to a healthy education, we know that early education can have important health and well-functioning benefits for children at a later age.’
Research from our team shows that children exposed to early learning have higher rates and better outcomes of asthma in comparison with those who receive education only in the U.S., where there is no primary school.’
As global populations are growing and health care systems become more developed, this new study helps us to understand the importance of early learning on children at the earliest age.’###Read more about the research, including how early childhood education affects children, and how to implement it into your life.