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The effect of growing up poor on early child development in Flanders: cohorts 2006 – 2009

Lieselot De Keyser (UGent) and Ronan Van Rossem (UGent)
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Organization
Abstract
Background. Early childhood is often to be the most important developmental phase throughout one’s lifespan. Many studies have demonstrated that the socio-economic deprivation of a household negatively affects the neo- and perinatal health of children born into these households. This paper examines to what extent the socio-economic household background – measured by a poverty index and maternal education - influences birth characteristics and the physical development of young children during the first three years of their life. Methods. The administrative IKAROS dataset registers longitudinal data on the development of nearly all children in Flanders. The study uses data of children born between 2006 – 2009 (N = 291.230), which covers N=2.949.169 check-ups during the first three years of life. Physical health is operationalized by 2 parameters : weight-for-age and height-for-age. Poverty-risk is measured as an index, based on 6 household deprivation indicators : income, education, employment, stimulation, housing and health status. Results. First, maternal education better predicts differences in both weight- and height development than the poverty index does. Second, despite that differences are relatively small in present-day society, the size of the differences is more or less consistent during the measurement period. Third, the weight development of children of low-educated mothers is during the first six months a little retarded. From then on, these children overcompensate with higher weight-for-age z-scores than children of higher educated mothers. Discussion. Despite all initiatives in Flanders to reduce the effects of socio-economic inequalities on child development, a social gradient is still observable in the physical development of young children. As health problems early in life may be predictors of health status later in life, monitoring of all children from the conception on must remain a policy priority.

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MLA
De Keyser, Lieselot, and Ronan Van Rossem. “The Effect of Growing up Poor on Early Child Development in Flanders: Cohorts 2006 – 2009.” Healthy Lives: Technologies, Policies and Experiences. 2016. Print.
APA
De Keyser, L., & Van Rossem, R. (2016). The effect of growing up poor on early child development in Flanders: cohorts 2006 – 2009. Healthy lives: technologies, policies and experiences. Presented at the 16th Biennal congress of the ESHMS (European Society for Health and Medical Sociology).
Chicago author-date
De Keyser, Lieselot, and Ronan Van Rossem. 2016. “The Effect of Growing up Poor on Early Child Development in Flanders: Cohorts 2006 – 2009.” In Healthy Lives: Technologies, Policies and Experiences.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
De Keyser, Lieselot, and Ronan Van Rossem. 2016. “The Effect of Growing up Poor on Early Child Development in Flanders: Cohorts 2006 – 2009.” In Healthy Lives: Technologies, Policies and Experiences.
Vancouver
1.
De Keyser L, Van Rossem R. The effect of growing up poor on early child development in Flanders: cohorts 2006 – 2009. Healthy lives: technologies, policies and experiences. 2016.
IEEE
[1]
L. De Keyser and R. Van Rossem, “The effect of growing up poor on early child development in Flanders: cohorts 2006 – 2009,” in Healthy lives: technologies, policies and experiences, Geneva, Switzerland, 2016.
@inproceedings{7186191,
  abstract     = {Background. Early childhood is often to be the most important developmental phase throughout one’s lifespan. Many studies have demonstrated that the socio-economic deprivation of a household negatively affects the neo- and perinatal health of children born into these households. This paper examines to what extent the socio-economic household background – measured by a poverty index and maternal education - influences birth characteristics and the physical development of young children during the first three years of their life. Methods. The administrative IKAROS dataset registers longitudinal data on the development of nearly all children in Flanders. The study uses data of children born between 2006 – 2009 (N = 291.230), which covers N=2.949.169 check-ups during the first three years of life. Physical health is operationalized by 2 parameters : weight-for-age and height-for-age. Poverty-risk is measured as an index, based on 6 household deprivation indicators : income, education, employment, stimulation, housing and health status. Results. First, maternal education better predicts differences in both weight- and height development than the poverty index does. Second, despite that differences are relatively small in present-day society, the size of the differences is more or less consistent during the measurement period. Third, the weight development of children of low-educated mothers is during the first six months a little retarded. From then on, these children overcompensate with higher weight-for-age z-scores than children of higher educated mothers. Discussion. Despite all initiatives in Flanders to reduce the effects of socio-economic inequalities on child development, a social gradient is still observable in the physical development of young children. As health problems early in life may be predictors of health status later in life, monitoring of all children from the conception on must remain a policy priority.},
  author       = {De Keyser, Lieselot and Van Rossem, Ronan},
  booktitle    = {Healthy lives: technologies, policies and experiences},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Geneva, Switzerland},
  title        = {The effect of growing up poor on early child development in Flanders: cohorts 2006 – 2009},
  year         = {2016},
}