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Annual Report on U.S. Kids' Health a Mixed Bag
Date:7/13/2012

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, July 13 (HealthDay News) -- Infant mortality, preterm births and teen births have dropped across the United States as have violent crime and victimization among children, U.S. health officials reported Friday.

But more children are living in poverty and fewer parents are working in these economically trying times, according to the annual government report assessing the well-being of the nation's children. And the fight against childhood obesity is not making much headway.

"There is good and bad here," Dr. Alan Guttmacher, director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, said during a Wednesday morning press conference on the report, America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2012.

"Many of the health indicators continue a good trend, but childhood obesity and childhood asthma continue to be major problems," he said. "Clearly, there are issues in children's health that refer to our present economic situation, and we look forward to improvements in that as well. So I think it's a mixed picture but, overall, I think it's a good one."

On the downside, 10 percent of children don't have health insurance, and many of these children don't have a regular source for health care, he noted.

On the upside, the news on infant mortality, which has been falling for many years.

"This is the all-time low," Edward Sondik, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics, said during the press conference.

"We are also encouraged by the fourth consecutive annual drop in the preterm birth rate," Guttmacher added.

Highlights of the report include:

The Bad News

  • Obesity rates for kids aged 6 to 17 stood at 18 percent in 2009-2010, down only 1 percent from 2007-2008.
  • Asthma rates for thos
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