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Fewer U.S. Teens Having Babies, Binge Drinking: Report
Date:7/7/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, July 6 (HealthDay News) -- A new government report on the health and well-being of America's children brings forth some good news: Fewer teens are having babies or engaging in binge drinking, preterm birth rates are dropping and deaths from injury are declining.

But, the same report also points to several negative trends. More eighth-graders are using drugs, more children are living in poverty and many kids are in homes where a parent hasn't worked full time in a year.

"This annual report is an important tool for monitoring the well-being of our nation's children," Edward Sondik, director of the National Center for Health Statistics at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a Tuesday news conference. "Wellness has many dimensions, and each is critical to a child's well-being."

The report, America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2011, is the product of the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, which is a working group of 22 federal agencies that collects data on children and families.

Dr. Alan E. Guttmacher, director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, said during the news conference that "childhood is a dynamic phenomenon."

Many concerns have changed over time, Guttmacher said. At one time, infectious diseases were major concerns. "Now if you look at the lives of children, the role of injury has become more important. It's not that injury is more common, it's just that the other scourges of childhood have become less common," he explained.

Good news in the report included:

  • Teen birth rates dropped, from 21.7 per 1,000 girls in 2008 to 20.1 per 1,000 girls in 2009.
  • Premature births dropped from 12.3 percent in 2008 to 12.2 percent in 2009.
  • Injuries among teens dropped from 44 per 100,000
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