The research makes the case that policies that decrease housing insecurity can promote the health of young children.
Researchers interviewed over 22,000 low-income caregivers with children younger than 3 years old in 7 US urban medical centers between 1998 and 2007. The researchers assessed the following factors: food insecurity, child health status, developmental risk, weight and housing insecurity for each child’s household in order to determine the association between housing insecurity and the health of very young children.
Among other findings, the study highlights that:
Crowding in the home and multiple moves from home to home have clear negative associations for children.
Crowding is negatively associated with mental health status, ability to cope with stress, child and parent interaction, social relationships, and sleep. It also increases the risk for childhood injuries, elevated blood pressure, respiratory conditions, and exposure to infectious disease.
Adults and children living in crowded households are less likely to access health care services than are those in noncrowded households, and families with multiple moves are less likely to establish a medical home and seek out preventive health services for their children than are securely housed families.