Child health and development: A longitudinal perspective conceptual model

Keng Yen Huang, Jean Marie Bruzzese, Katelyn Kane, Sabrina Cheng

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Health issues are common in children, with an estimated 10 to 40% of children suffering from chronic physical illnesses. Although child health is an important part of the developmental process, the association between child health and development is not well understood. Issues like whether short-term and long-term health issues have effects on normal development, or how early cognitive and social-emotional functioning relate to health later on, are not clear. The lack of attention in this area of research, however, may be attributed to an absence of comprehensive conceptual models for guiding studies, as well as a clear definition and measurement tools for child health. In this chapter, we review approaches that have been used to investigate child health and development. We then propose a new conceptual model based on the contextual and ecological perspectives that considers the longitudinal, bi-directional relationship of health and development. In addition to considering environmental and biological factors that may directly impact this relationship, the model considers moderating variables. We then synthesize evidence from cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, with a primary focus on childhood asthma and obesity research, to illustrate the paths in the model. We also point out the importance of integrating developmental perspectives and theories in child health research, with a few suggested approaches listed. Finally, we note gaps in the exiting literature and provide some recommendations for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationChild Development and Child Poverty
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781617619670
ISBN (Print)9781607418160
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010


  • Childhood
  • Development
  • Health
  • Longitudinal study
  • Model
  • Theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Health Professions
  • General Medicine


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