Analysis Links Kids’ Health to Parents’ Income, Education
The health of children is affected by the education and income levels of their parents, according to a state-by-state study published on Tuesday by the Commission to Build a Healthier America at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
For the study, researchers measured infant mortality rates and the general health of children in each state based on data from surveys conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau and CDC (Zeltner, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/8).
The study found that nationwide infant mortality rates increased by 50% when mothers did not complete high school (Rowley, Tucson Citizen, 10/8). Nationwide, the infant mortality rate was 6.5 deaths per 1,000 live births, the study found.
Mississippi had the highest infant mortality rate at 9.9 deaths per 1,000 live births and Massachusetts had the lowest rate at 4.6 deaths per 1,000 live births, according to the study.
In addition, the study compared the percentages of children with "optimal" health -- based on assessments by parents of whether the health of their children ranged from "poor" to "excellent" -- in families with annual incomes that ranged from the federal poverty level to four times that amount (Vu, Stateline.org, 10/8).
As income levels increased, parents were more likely to report the health of their children as excellent, according to the study (Howington, Louisville Courier-Journal, 10/8).
Nationwide, the study found that 15.9% of children are not at optimal health.
Texas had the highest percentage of children who are not at optimal health at 22.8%, and Vermont had the lowest percentage at 6.9%, the study found.
Texas also had the highest percentage of children in lower-income families who are not at optimal health at 44.1%, as well as the largest gap between the percentage of children in lower-income families who are not at optimal health and the percentage of those in higher-income families who are not at optimal health, according to the study.
The study indicated that states in the South and Southwest have the largest gaps and that states in the northern Midwest, northern Great Plains and Northeast have the smallest gaps (Stateline.org, 10/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.