In a nationwide study, UCLA researchers have found that health inequities can be measured in children as young as 5 years old. The research, published in Health Affairs, contributes to a growing body of literature finding that children of color who are also poor face greater health inequities than their white counterparts.
Researchers trained kindergarten teachers in 98 school districts across the United States to administer the Early Development Instrument (EDI), a measure of children’s physical, social, emotional and language development.
The assessment was administered to more than 185,000 kindergarteners from 2010 to 2017. After analyzing and correlating the results according to where the children lived, the investigators found that 30 percent of children in the lowest-income neighborhoods were vulnerable in one or more domains of health development, compared to 17 percent of children in higher-income settings.
The researchers also found that income-related differences in developmental vulnerability varied substantially