Lead Poisoning in Children
The developing child is sensitive to certain toxins in the environment both prenatally and after birth. Thus, exposure to specific elements can permanently influence the maturing nervous system in such a way that mental retardation or developmental delays occur that are irreversible. The degree to which parents are informed of these potential dangers and the effectiveness of such programs to educate parents vary with the specific toxin in question. Most programs appear to focus on elements that may harm the prenatal development of a child. For example, the dangers of smoking while pregnant are often communicated via television advertisements. Many of the adverse elements that may harm the neurological development of the child are not often communicated to parents in formal ways such as preventative advertisements or educational programs. One such example is the communication to parents of the danger of a developing child’s exposure to lead.
The community education program is not a recent development. The federal government of the United States has been involved in providing community education programs since at least during the depression era of the 1930’s . They continue today through pediatric, mental health, and public education auspices with regard to protecting the welfare of children.
One example of research conducted regarding a community education involved the study of programs designed to prevent obesity in children. Ninety-nine studies were analyzed and examined. Although many of the studies were lacking in research design and rigor, the researchers concluded that community education programs were effective in reducing the likelihood of obesity in children. These programs included the education and training of parents to assist their children in maintaining the proper weight after weight loss. Thus, it does appear that community education programs are effective preventative measures. There is no doubt that other health problems may be addressed effectively through community based education programs.