The Effects of Low Birthweight and Other Medical Risk Factors on Resource Utilization in the Pre-School Years
NBER Working Paper No. 5273
This study compares resource utilization of pre-school aged children who are at medical risk with their healthier pre-school aged peers. Medical risk is defined as having been born of low birthweight, having an activity limitation, having a chronic health condition, or having a handicapping condition. Resources include: child care, pre-school, kindergarten, Headstart programs, and medical resources. The study uses two distinct data sets. The first is the National Health Interview Survey's Child Health Supplement of 1988, with approximately 2,500 children aged 3 to 5. The second data set is the National Household Education Survey of 1991, which consisted of about 6,700 children who were aged 3 to 5. The study uses a multivariate analysis to explore differences between at-risk and healthier peers, holding constant a variety of social and economic factors. The study finds consistent results that at-risk pre-school aged children are more likely to become hospitalized and are less healthy than their healthier peers, holding constant social and economic factors. In addition, they are more likely to delay entry into kindergarten. There is no evidence for differences in amount or type of child care or in mother's labor force participation. There is some evidence that at-risk children consume more pre-school resources.