Nearly every child in the
United States under the age of 3 receives some well-child care, and
pediatricians are the primary health care providers for this age group.
The doctor's office may be the only place where essentially all U.S.
infants and toddlers have contact with professionals trained in child
health and development. But do the process, content and quality of well-child
visits meet the needs of parents?
The National Survey of Early
Childhood Health (NSECH) was conducted to address those questions. While
there is an abundance of information about pediatricians' views on this
topic, very little information has been previously collected from parents'
Parents of children ages
4 to 35 months old were surveyed in 2000 about their opinion on well-child
visits and health supervision. These nationally representative data
gathered on more than 2,000 children provide insight into the content
and quality of well-child visits as well as information on parenting
practices such as reading together that can affect the development of
children. The NSECH also supplies national data on which health and
development issues parents want to address in well-child visits to help
them raise their child in a healthy environment.
The NSECH represents a unique multidisciplinary and multi-institution
partnership. The survey was developed by the AAP and the UCLA Center
for Healthier Children, Families, and Communities with primary funding
from the Gerber Foundation. Additional financial support was provided
by the AAP Friends of Children Fund, the Maternal and Child Health Bureau
in the Health Resources and Services Administration through their funding
of the National Center for Infant and Early Childhood Health Policy
at UCLA, and The Commonwealth Fund. Other collaborators included researchers
from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Child and
Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative (CAHMI).