CHILDREN’S HEALTH: Housing Makes A Difference
A recent study by the Boston Medical Center concluded that housing can be a large factor in the overall health of children, the AP/Boston Globe reports. Drawing on articles from medical journals and "nearly 100 e-mailed anecdotes from doctors, nurses and social workers around the country," the authors found that "where children live can have as big an effect on their health as the food they eat, the shots they receive, and the medical ailments they are born with." For instance, many children go hungry or are undernourished because their parents cannot afford both adequate food and housing. Further, "[c]hronically ill children who teeter precariously between sickness and good health are more likely to suffer setbacks when their housing is inadequate, the report says." According to the report, "nearly 18,000 children are hospitalized each year because of asthma complications from cockroaches, rats and mold. Another 1,400 are hospitalized with burns from exposed radiators."
A New Health Indicator
The report contends that housing should be regarded as a child health issue, and suggests that pediatricians inquire as to what a child's home life is like when obtaining health histories. Dr. Megan Sandel, one of the report's authors, said, "For many of our patients, being able to get them better housing is one of the best medical interventions we can do for them to help them stay healthy." The AP/Globe notes that "President Clinton has proposed spending $585 million for 100,000 new rental subsidies -- the first new money for that purpose since 1994" (2/9).