Publications

Health Lifestyles in Early Childhood

This study integrates two important developments, the concept of health lifestyles (which has focused on adults and adolescents) and the increased attention to early childhood. We introduce the concept of children’s health lifestyles, identifying differences from adult health lifestyles and articulating intergenerational transmission and socialization processes shaping children’s health lifestyles. Using the nationally representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort (2001–2007; N ˜ 6,150), latent class analyses identify predominant health lifestyles among U.S. preschoolers. Five distinct empirical patterns representing health lifestyles emerge, two capturing low and medium levels of overall risk across domains and three capturing domain-specific risks. Social background predicts children’s health lifestyles, but lower household resources often explain these relationships. Across kindergarten measures of cognition, behavior, and health, preschool health lifestyles predict children’s development even after controlling for social disadvantage and concurrent household resources. Further research on health lifestyles throughout childhood is warranted.