In 2001, a law was established that municipalities are required to offer at least 15 hours of pre-school week to unemployed children. Researchers at the Uppsala University and the IFAU (Institute for Labor Market and Education Policy Assessment) have investigated what has happened to the health of these children after they have started their pre-school years. This was done through a survey of hospitals and prescription drugs.
Uppsala is not among a total of 150 surveyed municipalities.
Researchers look at the years before and after the reform and compare the development. In the short term there is an increase in the number of children hospitalized for infectious diseases.
– Then we followed the children in the middle school and then we did not find any effects of pre-school access to the risk of breastfeeding in a hospital. However, we have seen that children who have had access to pre-school age are less likely to be prescribed asthma, allergies and other respiratory problems, says Anna Sögren of four authors.
Researchers argue that a possible explanation may be that children are exposed to a larger number of pre-school micro-organisms, which may reduce the risk of respiratory problems.
What do you draw from this?
– One conclusion that can be drawn is that it is probably wise to allow this group of children to have access to pre-school age if it protects in the long term from respiratory problems. It seems to have a positive effect, says Anna Schoogren.