Health Lifestyles in Early Childhood

Stefanie F. Mollborn, University of Colorado at Boulder
Laurie James-Hawkins, University of Colorado at Boulder
Elizabeth Lawrence, University of Colorado at Boulder

This study integrates two important developments in understanding health disparities, the concept of health lifestyles (which has examined only adults and adolescents) and the increased focus on early childhood. We introduce the idea of children’s health lifestyles, identifying differences from adult health lifestyles and articulating processes of socialization and acquisition of cultural health capital that predict children’s health lifestyles and result from them. Using the nationally representative ECLS-B (2001-2007), latent class analyses establish predominant health lifestyles among U.S. preschoolers. Three classes emerge representing low, medium, and high levels of risk across all domains and three representing domain-specific risks. Social background factors predict health lifestyles, but lower household resources usually explain these relationships. Preschool health lifestyles predict cognition, behavior, and health in kindergarten even after controlling for social background and concurrent household resources. Children with several domains of high risk generally have the most compromised outcomes.

  See paper

Presented in Poster Session 2