Expert Voices: Life Course Health DevelopmentNeal Halfon, MD, MPH, Director, UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families, and Communities, and Professor of Pediatrics, Health Sciences and Public Policy
President Obama has forcefully renewed his campaign commitment to a comprehensive reform of the U.S. health care system. The recent reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program and elements of the stimulus package have been first steps toward reform. As we continue to pursue broader system reforms in this period of economic uncertainty, it is more important than ever to focus on health promotion as a key long-term path to control health care spending. In this essay, Halfon examines the Life Course Health Development (LCHD) model, which emphasizes the importance of early intervention during sensitive developmental periods in a child’s life as a means to helping the child attain maximum potential health throughout his lifespan. These interventions include appropriate family support and early learning opportunities in addition to appropriate health care, with all interventions integrated across sectors and over time. While most other developed countries support their children in this way, the U.S. has lagged far behind. Current national reform activities offer an opportunity to begin redressing this shortcoming.
Other recent Expert Voices essays include:
- Jonathan Gruber, PhD, Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, "The Role of Individual Mandates in Health Reform" (January 2009)
- Dan Mendelson, President, and Tanisha Carino, PhD, Vice President, Avalere Health, "Getting to Value" (July 2008)
Sign up to receive the Expert Voices series by completing our online subscription form.