Obese and overweight preschool-aged children were found to have significantly healthier weight statuses by the time they reached kindergarten age if they participated in Head Start programs, according to a study published online last week in the journal Pediatrics.
The study authors drew upon 19,023 children from 12 Head Start programs in Michigan. The programs measured the changes in each child’s body mass index from the beginning to the end of two academic years, including the intervening summer.
The authors then compared the results with two comparison groups from a Michigan primary health-care system—5,405 children receiving Medicaid and 19,320 not receiving Medicaid.
Head Start programs were also linked increases in body mass index measures for children who started out underweight.
A version of this article appeared in the January 21, 2015 edition of Education Week as Early-Childhood Education