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Poverty threatens health of US children
Date:5/3/2013

WASHINGTON, DC Pediatricians, economists, social scientists and policy experts will come together on Saturday, May 4, to address one of the greatest threats to child health poverty.

The group will take part in a plenary session titled, "A National Agenda to End Childhood Poverty," at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Washington, DC. The session will cover a range of issues related to childhood poverty, including its measurement, its impact on child health and potential solutions.

Children are the poorest segment of society: 22 percent of U.S. children live below the federal poverty level, a prevalence that has persisted since the 1970s. The effects of poverty on children's health and well-being are well-documented. Poor children have increased infant mortality; more frequent and severe chronic diseases such as asthma; poorer nutrition and growth; less access to quality health care; lower immunization rates; and increased obesity and its complications.

"How can this be the wealthiest country in the world when one in four of America's children has been living in poverty for over four decades?" said plenary Co-Chair Thomas K. McInerny, MD, FAAP, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). "The AAP and the Academic Pediatric Association (APA) have decided that now is the time to work on reducing childhood poverty as a major step to improve the health of our nation's children, our most precious resource."

Although the nation has made policy decisions to support the elderly (whose poverty prevalence has dropped from 35 percent in 1959 to 9 percent in 2010), the same has not been done for children.

"As a society, we have chosen to use government programs to protect seniors from poverty. What the U.S. does for seniors is clearly good; so why do we not also protect children from the life-altering effects of poverty?" said plenary Co-Chair Benard P. Dreyer, MD, FAAP, immediate past pres
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Contact: Debbie Jacobson
djacobson@aap.org
847-434-7084
American Academy of Pediatrics
Source:Eurekalert

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