Document Type


Publication Date


First page number:


Last page number:



Academic achievement for children is vital to their success in life. Those that do well in school have greater opportunities for post-secondary education, and later have better prospects for employment. One of the major factors that can affect a child’s academic achievement is his or her health status. Academic outcomes and health conditions are consistently linked in the literature (Taras & Potts-Datema, 2005). Children with poor health status, and especially those with common chronic health conditions, have increased numbers of school absences and more academic deficiencies (Taras & Potts-Datema, 2005). In a study concerning excused versus unexcused absences, children with greater absenteeism had lower academic performance, and those with excused absences performed better than those with unexcused absences (Gottfried, 2009). Therefore, to increase the likelihood for academic success in children, we need address their health concerns. Preventative care is crucial to a child’s ability to succeed in school.

According to data from the KIDS COUNT Data Center at the Annie E. Casey Foundation (2009), 11 percent of Nevada’s teens are high school dropouts, compared to 7 percent nationally. The national dropout prevention center lists poor attendance and low achievement as two of the significant risk factors for school dropout (Hammond et al., 2007). Additionally studies examining school dropout rates indicate that early intervention is necessary to prevent students from dropping out of school. Middle and high school students that drop out likely stopped being engaged in school much earlier in their academic career. Therefore, early prevention and intervention is crucial to improving graduation rates. Ensuring that children have their basic needs met, including receiving adequate health care, can directly impact a child’s academic achievement as well as increase their likelihood for high school graduation.

To gain baseline information on the health status of children entering the school system and better track student health status, the Nevada Institute for Children’s Research and Policy (NICRP), in partnership with the state’s 17 school districts, the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD), and the Nevada State Health Division (NSHD), conducted a health survey examining the health status as well health insurance status of Nevada’s children entering kindergarten. This study was conducted with the goal of quantifying the health status of children as they enter school to be able to identify specific areas for improvement to eventually increase academic success among Nevada’s students.


Academic achievement; Children – Health and hygiene; Chronically ill; Kindergarten; Nevada; School attendance


Education | Health Services Research | Maternal and Child Health