How Are the Children? Part II

By admin on December 11, 2013

Hello, how are the children?

As I committed to last week, I spent some time trudging through statistics to provide you with an overall picture of the health and well-being of our children. Following is what I hope is the right amount of data to be informative but not enough to cause your eyes to glaze. I have cited my sources and provided links for you to investigate further.

The findings below are described in “America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2013″. The report was compiled by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, which includes participants from 22 federal agencies as well as partners in several private research organizations.

The report, the 16th in an ongoing series, presents key indicators of children’s wellbeing in seven domains: family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health.

Among the findings in this year’s report:
A drop for the fifth straight year in the percentage of infants born preterm, from 12.8 percent in 2006 to 11.7 in 2011.
A drop in the percentage of children ages 4–11 with any detectable blood cotinine level, a measure for recent exposure to
secondhand smoke, from 53 percent in the years 2007 and 2008 to 42 percent in 2009 and 2010).
A drop in births to adolescents, from 17 per 1,000 girls ages 15 to 17 in 2009 to 15 per 1,000 in 2011 (preliminary data).
A rise in the percentage of male and female 12th graders who reported binge drinking—consuming five or more alcoholic
beverages in a row in the past two weeks—from 22 percent in 2011 to 24 percent in 2012.
A rise in the percentage of households with children from birth to 17 years that reported housing that costs more than 30
percent of household income, crowding, and/or physically inadequate housing, from 45 percent in 2009 to 46 percent in 2011.
A rise in the percentage of children from birth to 17 years of age living with at least one parent employed year round full
time, from 71 percent in 2010 to 73 percent in 2011.
A rise in the percentage of children ages 5–17 with a dental visit in the past year from 85 percent in 2010 to 87 percent in 2011.
The percentage of youth ages 12–17 who had a major depressive episode was unchanged in the previous year (8.2 percent in 2010
and 2011). However, this figure was lower than the 2004 high of 9 percent. The report notes that adolescent depression can affect school and work performance, impair peer and family relationships, and exacerbate other health conditions, such as asthma and obesity.
The Healthy Eating Index score, a measure of overall dietary quality did not differ significantly from recent years. For children ages 2–17, total scores ranged between 47 and 50 percent in 2003–2004, 2005–2006, and 2007–2008. The report noted thatthe diet quality of children and adolescents fell considerably short of recommendations.
On average, girls received higher scores than boys on kindergarten entry assessments in reading and approaches to learning.
There were no differences between girls and boys in mathematics and science.

The following is excerpted from the National Alliance of Mental Health:
“While mental disorders are widespread, the main burden of illness is concentrated among those suffering from a seriously debilitating mental illness. Just over 20 percent (or 1 in 5) children, either currently or at some point during their life, have had a seriously debilitating mental disorder.”

Data Provided by:
Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center

Andover 14
Boxford NA
Danvers 51
Georgetown 12
Groveland 19
Ipswich 11
Middleton 15
Topsfield NA
West Newbury NA

The following is cited from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Number of deaths for adolescents 15-19 years of age: 10,887
Deaths per 100,000 population for adolescents 15-19 years of age: 49.4

Leading causes of deaths among adolescents 15-19 years of age:
o Accidents (unintentional injuries)
o Homicide
o Suicide

What do you think? How are the children? How are our cildren?

During the next week I invite you to keep these statistics close to your heart and view the children you encounter with a new lens. Next week I’ll provide you with some ways in which you can help, if you want to.

Be well,


239 Boston Street, Topsfield, MA 01983