Report Urges Action To Boost Kids’ Health Care in California
California continues to struggle in its efforts to extend health care coverage to more children and reduce childhood obesity, according to a report released Thursday by Children Now, an Oakland-based advocacy group, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The group's annual State of the State's Children's report rated California's performance on a range of health and education issues, including:
- Health insurance rates;
- Infant and adolescent health care; and
- Childhood obesity.
Ted Lempert, president of Children Now, said the state's failure to provide coverage to more children marked the biggest disappointment of the year. The report gave the state a C for those efforts, down from a B- last year (Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/3).
At the same time, one of the state's highest marks in the report -- a B- -- was for providing health care services to infants and adolescents.
Meanwhile, rising childhood obesity rates garnered a D+ from the group -- one of the lowest marks in the report. One-third of California children are overweight or obese, and just 28% meet the state's physical fitness standards, according to the report (Steffens, Contra Costa Times, 1/3).
The report called for a coordinated effort to streamline the "fragmented and uncoordinated" efforts by lawmakers to help reduce childhood obesity.
A new state mandate for all kindergartners to receive dental exams was noted as an improvement by the report (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/3).
Children Now releases its report before the governor's state of the state address each January to try to influence policymaking and appropriations for the next fiscal year, Lempert said (Contra Costa Times, 1/3).
However, efforts to improve children's health this year will be difficult given the state's $14 billion budget deficit over the next 18 months and expected spending cuts from all state services, including health care, according to the Chronicle (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/3).