Lifelong Health

Early experiences are built into our bodies. They shape the wiring of the brain, and they impact how biological systems develop.

Adverse experiences during the early years of life, such as chronic poverty or abuse, can disrupt normal developmental processes, setting the stage for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and other chronic illnesses later in life.

As science uncovers how early experiences and environments can negatively impact physiology, research also is showing how high quality early childhood programs can do just the opposite and prevent later chronic disease.

A 30-year study of children who participated in the Carolina Abecedarian Program shows substantial positive effects on later adult health. They have significantly improved health as adults, make healthier lifestyle choices and experience fewer illnesses as adults. They have lower rates of high blood pressure and significantly lower risk of heart disease.

The Carolina Abecedarian Project was a randomized trial that focused on early health and learning—and tracked life and health outcomes well into adulthood, including periodic physical exams for both the treatment and control groups in their mid-30s. The study provided high quality early care and learning and included nutritional and health care components. Children received two meals and an afternoon snack and received periodic medical check-ups, screenings and follow-up care.


Learn more:

  • We Are Committed to Young Children

    We believe that when all young children are given the best opportunity to realize their potential and contribute as productive citizens, North Carolina prospers. See who else has signed the commitment and join us!
  • Judge Louis A. Trosch, Jr.
    Juvenile Court
  • Samantha Dooies
    New Hanover / Pender District Attorney's Office
  • Pat Kahle
    Union County
    Union County Chamber of Commerce - President
  • Steve Brewington
    Holly Springs
    Holly Springs Police Department
  • George Sawyer
    New Bern
    Sawyer's Lawn Care