The Health Benefits of Head Start
The benefits of our Head Start and Early Head Start programs extend far beyond a child’s preschool education. In addition to early childhood education, our Head Start programs also include extensive health and wellness services that have health benefits that last throughout a child’s life.
The first few years of any child’s development are key, which is why our program offers health and developmental screenings, immunizations, nutritious meals and dental check-ups.
All children enrolled in our Head Start programs are provided with breakfast, morning snack, lunch and an afternoon snack. All menus are prepared and approved by a licensed dietitian.
In addition to nutrition and medical care, Head Start programs also include mental healthcare and support for children who have experienced trauma. Programs like these decrease a child’s need for special education services later on.
How Head Start Helps Children Grow Into Healthy Adults
When children receive regular, comprehensive healthcare early on in life, the results can be astounding. For instance, did you know that mortality rates for 5- to 9-year-old children who had attended Head Start are 33% to 50% lower than the rates for comparable children who were not enrolled in Head Start?
Children who are enrolled in Head Start programs are 7% less likely to be in poor health as adults than their siblings who did not attend Head Start. Head Start graduates are also 19% less likely to smoke than their siblings who did not attend.
Head Start children receive healthy meals and have the chance to learn about where food comes from at an early age. Nationally, children that have participated in Head Start programs have lower Body Mass Index (BMI) scores and are less likely to be overweight compared to children in non-parental care.
In one study, preschool age children who were already obese, overweight, or underweight when they joined the program had a significantly healthier BMI by kindergarten entry than control children.
Healthy Children Create Healthy Communities
Whether you are curious about enrolling your child in Head Start or you are a community advocate who understands the value of creating a community where all children can grow up happy and healthy, we welcome you to learn more about the Head Start programs we offer.
* Source of Head Start statistics: nhsa.orgBack to top