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Costs and Benefits

If local experts and infrastructure are available, it is a good idea to look at the costs and benefits of a childhood health promotion program prior to implementation.

Early childhood education programs that include elements of health promotion have been found to have benefits that outweigh the costs, including long-term benefits that can result in improved health outcomes into adulthood. These benefits include, for example, improved social and cognitive development, academic achievement, and health outcomes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlights research showing the economic benefits of state and local early education programs, community programs, and federally-funded Head Start programs.

Research on the costs, benefits, and long-term outcomes of early childcare programs showed that several well-known childcare center-based programs have a high rate of return on investment. The researchers reported that every dollar spent on these high quality programs for children starting from birth to the age of 5 delivered a 13% per year return on investment. These findings suggest that well-designed programs are important and can have significant impacts on the health and well-being of entire communities.

Many of the programs highlighted in Module 2 and Module 3 are either low-cost or free. Lower costs reduce the barriers to implementing programs with large initial investments. If the community has available funds through a grant or other source, it may be feasible to implement additional services or approaches. Resources for grant writing assistance are available from RHIhub.

Resources to Learn More

Promoting Health in Early Childhood
Document
Examines the impact of different programs and policies that target women at risk of getting pregnant, pregnant women, or children through age five, and discusses how some failed and others were effective at improving childhood health.
Author(s): Rossin-Slater, M.
Date: 2015