Healthy Kids Lead to a Healthy Economy: Op-Ed

Dec 4, 2012, 11:04 AM

A new op-ed in the Minneapolis Star Tribune makes clear the connection between improving the economy and improving public health — especially when it comes to children. One can’t be accomplished without the other, according to authors Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, the president and chief executive officer of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Arthur Rolnick, PhD, a senior fellow at the University of Minnesota and former senior vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

By improving early education for kids — and even for parents before birth — we can dramatically improve the chances that kids will grow up to lead longer, healthier and more financially successful lives. This will benefit them individually and all of us collectively. The obstacle standing before public health officials and policymakers is to recognize this connection, the authors write.

“For many years, we have missed this connection because we tend to create policy in silos –with education under one roof, housing and economic development under another, and health under yet another roof. In reality, these policy areas are all interconnected and influence one another.”

>>Recommended reading: Read the full story.

>>Recommended viewing: Life Expectancy Disparities along I-94.

Also watch a video with Arthur Rolnick about the return on investment for investing in early childhood education.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.