This Week's CDC MMWR Lead Article - Health Care, Family, and Community Factors Associated with Mental, Behavioral, and Developmental Disorders in Early Childhood — United States, 2011–2012


What is already known about this topic?

Sociodemographic factors and environmental influences in early childhood have been demonstrated to have significant impact on development, mental health, and overall health throughout the lifespan.

What is added by this report?

This report provides recent national data documenting significant associations of early childhood mental, behavioral, and developmental disorders (MBDDs) with sociodemographic, health care, family, and community factors. There was substantial variation in state estimates of these factors and early childhood MBDDs. The factors most strongly associated with MBDDs were fair or poor parental mental health, difficulty getting by on the family’s income, child care problems (among parents of children aged 2–3 years), and lacking a medical home.

What are the implications for public health practice?

These data support the Institute of Medicine recommendation that resources directed toward improving health care and supporting families and communities are needed to promote healthy development among all young children. Collaborative, multidisciplinary strategies including public health and pediatric clinical partners might have the greatest impact given the broad types of factors associated with early childhood MBDDs and the large number of agencies working to support optimal child development.

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