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Early Education Program Provides Long-Term Benefits for Low Birth Weight Infants

Early education programs for low birth weight children (2001- 2500 grams) in the first 3 years of life produce positive outcomes through age 18, according to newly published findings in the March 2006 issue of Pediatrics.

The report describes the 18-year follow-up to the Infant Health and Development Program (IHDP), a national research project involving low birth weight, pre-term infants in 8 cities across the U.S. The study found that the heaviest low birth weight children who received early preschool tended to have higher math and reading scores, and engage in less risky behavior, than those who did not participate in the program.

"This study shows that providing preschool to low birth weight infants is a smart use of public resources, and in the long term, there are thousands of children who would reap the benefits," said Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Ph.D., the Virginia and Leonard Marx Professor of Child Development and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and co-director of the National Center for Children and Families at the College.

This article appeared on Newswise on March 6, 2006.

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