Early childhood education to promote health equity: A community guide systematic review

Robert A. Hahn, W. Steven Barnett, John A. Knopf, Benedict I. Truman, Robert L. Johnson, Jonathan E. Fielding, Carles Muntaner, Camara Phyllis Jones, Mindy T. Fullilove, Pete C. Hunt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Context: Children in low-income and racial and ethnic minority families often experience delays in development by 3 years of age and may benefit from center-based early childhood education. Design: A meta-analysis on the effects of early childhood education by Kay and Pennucci best met Community Guide criteria and forms the basis of this review. Results: There were increases in intervention compared with control children in standardized test scores (median=0.29 SD) and high school graduation (median=0.20 SD) and decreases in grade retention (median=0.23 SD) and special education assignment (median=0.28 SD). There were decreases in crime (median=0.23 SD) and teen births (median=0.46 SD) and increases in emotional self-regulation (median=0.21 SD) and emotional development (median=0.04 SD). All effects were favorable, but not all were statistically significant. Effects were also long-lasting. Conclusions: Because many programs are designed to increase enrollment for high-risk students and communities, they are likely to advance health equity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1-E8
JournalJournal of Public Health Management and Practice
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Early childhood education
  • Health equity
  • Low income
  • Racial/ethnic minority
  • Social determinant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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