Author Affiliations: Division of Violence Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.
Policy makers have widely endorsed the idea that educational and economic achievement are a function of early childhood experience and development and can be improved through interventions such as preschool.1,2 However, they have yet to fully embrace that adolescent and adult health is also profoundly affected by early childhood experiences and can similarly be improved through wise public investments. Neurobiological, behavioral, and social science research conclusively shows that early adverse experiences can affect brain development and increase vulnerability to a broad range of mental and physical health problems.3- 5 In addition, health depends on developing psychological, behavioral, and social competencies built on a foundation of safety, stability, and nurturance that is laid down early in life and that buffers against early adversity.3,5
Mercy JA, Saul J. Creating a Healthier Future Through Early Interventions for Children. JAMA. 2009;301(21):2262-2264. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.803