BUTTE COUNTY: Poor Children Show Elevated Anemia Rate
Low-income children in Butte County have a rate of anemia more than four times the national average, according to the county Health Department's Children's Health and Disability Prevention program. Steve Vantine, nurse case manager for CHDP, said that according to CDC data, nearly one in five county children whose families earn less than 200% of the federal poverty level were anemic in 1997, compared to 4.7% nationwide. Children with the iron-deficiency disorder have lower levels of oxygen carried to their brain and "commonly have trouble thinking." County health officials said they were not sure of the cause of the local problem and needed "more data," although they surmised that poor nutrition could be at fault. CHDP Deputy Director Barbara Gossage said a regional taskforce has "been meeting monthly for more than a year." She said, "We want to get the word out that anemia is not something innocuous. There are long-term consequences." She advocated regular blood tests and improving nutrition in school-sponsored lunches. Vantine cited Contra Costa County outreach efforts which reduced the number of low- income anemic children from 40% to less than 10% (Mitchell, Chico Enterprise-Record, 2/3).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.