Fewer Improvement on Children’s Health Measures Found
Measures of health and income for U.S. children are no longer improving as much as they did in the 1990s, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation's annual "Kids Count" report released Tuesday, the AP/USA Today reports.
The report measures each state's progress in 10 areas -- including infant mortality, poverty rates, single-parent families and infants born with low birthweights -- using the most recent data available from the Census Bureau. The report finds that the U.S. improved in four areas, declined in three and had no change in three measures since last year.
In the 1990s, when the economy was rising and government-sponsored health care for children was expanded, there were improvements in eight of the 10 measurements, according to AP/USA Today. One constant improvement is teen pregnancies, which decreased from 48 pregnancies for every 1,000 females in 2000 to 42 per 1,000 in 2003.
The death rate of children ages one to 14 decreased slightly, as did the rate for children ages 15 to 19, the report finds. In addition, the proportion of babies born below 5.5 pounds increased by less than one percentage point to 7.9%.
There has been no change in infant mortality rates since 2000, according to the report. States in the Northeast and upper Midwest received the best overall scores -- with New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Minnesota and Iowa topping the list. Southern states received the worst scores -- with Mississippi, Louisiana, New Mexico, South Carolina and Tennessee ranked at the bottom (Ohlemacher, AP/USA Today, 6/27).