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E-M:/ Children's Health
Enviro-Mich message from Mike Boyce <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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.
For Release July 15, 1998, 6 a.m. E.S.T. Contact: Robin
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ISSUES SECOND ANNUAL REPORT ON THE WELL-BEING OF
THE NATION'S CHILDREN
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
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
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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