Associations between Child Care Quality Regulations and Children’s Health Outcomes

Anna Choi, Cornell University

This paper studies the relationship between children’s health outcomes and state regulations of child care centers related to quality, such as teacher’s education qualification and degree requirement, staff to child ratios, and maximum group size. We measure this relationship using restricted-access ECLS-B (Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort) data, which contain rich information about the children and their families and child care providers. We examine health outcome measures, including obesity, healthy and unhealthy eating habits, and doctor diagnosis of ear infection, gastrointestinal illness, and bronchitis. After controlling for relevant child, family characteristics, and state demographic characteristics, we find that requiring teachers to have a post-secondary degree is associated with improvements in children’s health including obesity, unhealthy eating habits, and numbers of infections and illnesses. Findings from this paper suggest that it is important to consider what aspects of child care quality are associated with better health outcomes.

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 Presented in Session P7. Health and Mortality of Women, Children and Families