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Childhood Preventative Health: A Call to Action

‘Preventative health’ is big time. Efforts to reduce smoking rates, to decrease breast cancer, or to prevent AIDS/HIV are widely supported. Prevention is an area where scientists, clinicians, and policymakers are in strong agreement: interventions improve healthand save society billions of dollars.

Interestingly, a new frontier in preventative health has emerged with far greater potential for health and cost savings—and has gone widely unnoticed.

Cutting-edge science shows that environmental influences in early childhoodaffect health across generations. For example, epigenetic studies show that malnutrition experienced in the womb directly increases one’s risk for developing obesity and …show more content…
From the stay-at-home parent to the Frankfort policy-maker, we all can make a difference. For healthcare providers, this means conversing as much as prescribing (and incorporating ACE screening into practices). For educators, this means actively monitoring for signs of stress and childhood trauma. For pastors and local community leaders, this means extending roles of mentorship and community involvement.

On a policy level, this means prioritizing prenatal health, maternity/paternity leave, early childhood education, social programs for families, strong communities, and healthy lifestyles. Widespread public campaigns to increase awareness and support for these measures—similar to smoking cessation or HIV awareness—need to be implemented. Support for trauma-sensitive schools, services for children with special needs, and improved access to healthy food options, are all meaningful and valuable interventions.

In Kentucky, a state with one of the highest rates of preventable disease as well as one of the highest rates of adverse childhood experiences, childhood prevention is an area ripe for improvement. Although there exist many organizations addressing components of childhood health, they are often woefully underfunded. Furthermore, there exists no unified effort to address these issues. A broad-reaching childhood preventative health initiative is needed within the

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