How well can poor child health and development be predicted by data collected in early childhood?

Straatmann, V. S., Pearce, A. , Hope, S., Barr, B., Whitehead, M., Law, C. and Taylor-Robinson, D. (2018) How well can poor child health and development be predicted by data collected in early childhood? Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 72(12), pp. 1132-1140. (doi: 10.1136/jech-2018-211028) (PMID:30242060) (PMCID:PMC6252371)

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Background: Identifying children at risk of poor developmental outcomes remains a challenge, but is important for better targeting children who may benefit from additional support. We explored whether data routinely collected in early life predict which children will have language disability, overweight/obesity or behavioural problems in later childhood. Methods: We used data on 10 262 children from the UK Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) collected at 9 months, 3, and 11 years old. Outcomes assessed at age 11 years were language disability, overweight/obesity and socioemotional behavioural problems. We compared the discriminatory capacity of three models: (1) using data currently routinely collected around the time of birth; (2) Model 1 with additional data routinely collected at 3 years; (3) a statistically selected model developed using a larger set of early year’s risk factors for later child health outcomes, available in the MCS—but not all routinely collected. Results: At age 11, 6.7% of children had language disability, 26.9% overweight/obesity and 8.2% socioemotional behavioural problems. Model discrimination for language disability was moderate in all three models (area under the curve receiver-operator characteristic 0.71, 0.74 and 0.76, respectively). For overweight/obesity, it was poor in model 1 (0.66) and moderate for model 2 (0.73) and model 3 (0.73). Socioemotional behavioural problems were also identified with moderate discrimination in all models (0.71; 0.77; 0.79, respectively). Conclusion: Language disability, socioemotional behavioural problems and overweight/obesity in UK children aged 11 years are common and can be predicted with moderate discrimination using data routinely collected in the first 3 years of life.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Pearce, Dr Anna
Authors: Straatmann, V. S., Pearce, A., Hope, S., Barr, B., Whitehead, M., Law, C., and Taylor-Robinson, D.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN (Online):1470-2738
Published Online:21 September 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 72(12): 1132-1140
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
745341Improving life chances & reducing child health inequalities: harnessingthe untapped potential of existing dataAnna PearceWellcome Trust (WELLCOTR)205412/Z/16/ZIHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
727651SPHSU Core Renewal: Measuring and Analysing Socioeconomic Inequalities in Health Research ProgrammeAlastair LeylandMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/13IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU