Can more effective urban planning improve early childhood development?
Data access has been approved for a study examining the impact of environmental exposures on early childhood development. The research, which will look at the Metro Vancouver area, aims to inform effective interventions to support healthy urban planning for vulnerable populations, specifically children in socioeconomically deprived areas.
Dr. Matilda van den Bosch, Assistant Professor in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia, is leading the project, which is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
“Approximately one in four children is vulnerable in one or more areas of early development prior to entering Grade 1 in Canada,” says Dr. van den Bosch. “The risks for vulnerability vary substantially between regions and socio-economic inequalities are large. The causes of poor early development are complex and insufficiently understood, but environmental factors seem to play a role.”
By studying the impact of environmental exposures in early life, the team hope to find clues as to why impaired early development occurs and why it is unequally distributed. The impact on early development of harmful exposures, such as air pollution and noise, as well as beneficial influence from natural environments, such as green spaces, and a possible mitigating impact will be investigated.
For the project PopData will link data sets from the BC Ministry of Health, the BC Vital Statistics Agency, the BC Perinatal Registry, and Statistics Canada with deprivation and marginalization index data and researcher-collected data.