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E-M:/ Children's Health

Enviro-Mich message from Mike Boyce <birder@voyager.net>

I thought this would be of interest to those working in the
environmental arena.  I was gald to read that "over the past two
decades, the number of pre-school children with high blood lead levels
has dropped from 88 percent to 6 percent."  We are making good progress,
but we still have a way to go.


Source: http://www.childstats.gov/ac1998/pressrel.htm
     Press Release
     For Release July 15, 1998, 6 a.m. E.S.T. Contact: Robin
     (301) 496-5133 
     The federal government issued its second annual report today on the 
     well-being of America's 70 million children, revealing some good
     about their overall health and educational achievements. The
     "America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being," offers
     portrait of the nation's children, providing information on
     aspects of their lives, including their health, economic security, 
     education, behavior and social environment. 
     "This report provides an understanding of the promises and
     confronting our nation's young people and guides us in caring for 
     them," said Katherine Wallman, Chief Statistician at the Office of 
     Management and Budget.According to the report, children, from
     through adolescence, are off to a healthier start in many ways. 
     "We have some good progress to report -- more children are
     their first year of life, with infant mortality at an all-time 
     historic low," said Duane Alexander, M.D., Director of the National 
     Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). 
     The report also shows a dramatic decline in the number of children 
     with high blood lead levels, which can cause IQ or behavioral 
     problems. Over the past two decades, the number of pre-school
     with high blood lead levels has dropped from 88 percent to 6
     "This is a public health success story of almost unprecedented 
     magnitude," said Edward Sondik, Ph.D., Director, National Center
     Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "It 
     shows that the collection of this data, with subsequent, aggressive 
     legislative action to bar lead in paint and plumbing supplies and
     phase out lead in gasoline, has saved many children from permanent 
     learning disabilities." 
     A majority of parents in the U.S. reported their children to be in 
     very good or excellent health. Moreover, fewer young children and 
     adolescents are dying and 77 percent of toddlers are up-to-date on 
     their immunizations. However, the number of children without health 
     insurance has increased in 1996 to 10.6 million children, up from
     million in 1995. The report indicates that the birth rate among 
     adolescents declined between 1991 and 1996, from 39 to 34 births
     per 1,000. Much of this decline was due to the large drop in births
     adolescent black females, ages 15 to 17. 
     While the report shows some overall positive trends in the health
     young children, not all children are doing equally well. Between
     and 1996, there has been no significant change in the number of 
     children living in poverty. Children under 18 still represent 40 
     percent of the population in poverty, even though they comprise
     about one-quarter of the total U.S. population. Children in poverty 
     are more likely to experience housing problems and hunger, are less 
     likely to be immunized, and less likely to have a parent working
     full-time all year. 
     Overall, more young children are being read to by their families, 
     participating in early childhood education, and improving their
     scores on national achievement tests. 
     "By looking at these key indicators at each level of education, we
     quickly see that while more children are entering preschool,
     in math and graduating from college -- high school completion rates 
     and reading scores are stagnant," said Pascal D. Forgione, Jr.,
     Commissioner, National Center for Education Statistics. 
     As children reach their teen years, the report shows that they are 
     encountering several problems. During the 1990s, the percentages of 
     8th, 10th and 12th graders who smoked daily, drank heavily, or used 
     illicit drugs increased. The report shows that 25 percent of 12th 
     graders smoke on a regular basis. 
     "Substance abuse and cigarette smoking are at unacceptable levels," 
     said Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D., Director, National Institute on Drug 
     Abuse. "Since the early 1990s, we have seen a gradual increase in
     use, which we know is tied to a decrease in the perception of risk
     kids just don't think drugs are harmful," said Leshner. 
     The 23 indicators included in the report were chosen because they 
     regularly measure critical aspects of children's lives. Two special 
     indicators also included in this year's report are children's blood 
     lead levels and children in child care. The report also recommends
     development of additional indicators -- including more accurate 
     measures of youth violence, a global indicator of youth mental
     and measures of long-term poverty and homelessness -- that would 
     contribute to a fuller understanding of the overall condition of
     nation's children. 
     The report, issued by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and 
     Family Statistics, represents a significant collaborative effort
     the Federal agencies that report regularly on various aspects of 
     children's lives. The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family 
     Statistics was founded in 1994 and formally established by
     Order 13045 to foster coordination and collaboration in the
     and reporting of Federal data on children and families. Agencies 
     within the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense,
     Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban
     Justice, Labor, the National Science Foundation and the Office of 
     Management and Budget participate in the forum. 
     For more information on the report, contact the National Institute
     Child Health and Human Development, at (301) 496-5133. Free copies
     the full report can be obtained from the National Maternal and
     Health Clearinghouse, (703) 356-1964, via the Internet at:  
     http://childstats.gov, or purchased for $7.00 through the
     Printing Office at (202) 512-1800, publication number

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