Community interventions to promote healthy social environments: early childhood development and family housing. A report on recommendations of the Task Force on Community Preventive Services

MMWR Recomm Rep. 2002 Feb 1;51(RR-1):1-8.


The sociocultural environment exerts a fundamental influence on health. Interventions to improve education, housing, employment, and access to health care contribute to healthy and safe environments and improved community health. The Task Force on Community Preventive Services (the Task Force) has conducted systematic reviews of early childhood development interventions and family housing interventions. The topics selected provide a unique, albeit small, beginning of the review of evidence that interventions do effectively address sociocultural factors that influence health. Based on these reviews, the Task Force strongly recommends publicly funded, center-based, comprehensive early childhood development programs for low-income children aged 3-5 years. The basis for the recommendation is evidence of effectiveness in preventing developmental delay, assessed by improvements in grade retention and placement in special education. The Task Force also recommends housing subsidy programs for low-income families, which provide rental vouchers for use in the private housing market and allow families choice in residential location. This recommendation is based on outcomes of improved neighborhood safety and families' reduced exposure to violence. The Task Force concludes that insufficient evidence is available on which to base a recommendation for or against creation of mixed-income housing developments that provide safe and affordable housing in neighborhoods with adequate goods and services. This report provides additional information regarding these recommendations, briefly describes how the reviews were conducted, and discusses implications for applying the interventions locally.

MeSH terms

  • Child Development
  • Child, Preschool
  • Community Health Planning*
  • Early Intervention, Educational*
  • Health Promotion*
  • Housing*
  • Humans
  • Poverty
  • Social Environment*
  • United States