PURPOSE: This study was conducted to understand the health status and health behaviors of preschoolers to provide baseline data for developing health promotion programs. METHOD: Parents of children attending day-care centers were recruited for the study. Participating day-care centers were selected using a stratified sampling method. Data was collected from June to August 2002 using a questionnaire. RESULT: Among 754 preschoolers, 17.3% were overweight, while 18.2% were underweight. The most frequent infectious diseases that children have had previously were hand-foot-mouth disease (20.2%) and chicken pox (18.7%). Current health conditions that children have frequently are respiratory disease (28%) and atopic dermatitis (23.8%). Only 61% brush their teeth everyday at bedtime, 54.3% wash their hands every time after returning home, 8.8% wear bicycle helmets, 9.3% use a child car seat, and 8.1% eat fruits and vegetables five times a day. Children residing in the metropolitan area were more likely to have positive health behaviors, and children of parents with an advanced college level education were more likely to have positive health behaviors than those with only a high school level education. CONCLUSION: Based on the study results, health professionals could plan and develop health promotion programs to change unhealthy behaviors of preschoolers targeting high-risk groups.
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