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U.S. Report on Kids' Health Brings Mixed Results
Date:7/9/2010

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, July 9 (HealthDay News) -- In an annual report gauging the health and well-being of America's children, a group of 22 federal agencies reports progress in some areas, preterm births and teen pregnancies in particular, but bad news in other areas, like the number of teens living in poverty.

"This report is a status update on how our nation's children are faring, and it represents large segments of the population," Dr. Alan E. Guttmacher, acting director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, said during a press conference.

The report, titled America's Children In Brief: Key Indicators of Well-Being, 2010, was released July 9.

According to the report, in 2009 there were 74.5 million people under 18 years of age living in the United States. That number is up 2 million since 2000.

Seventy percent of those children lived in households with two parents, while 26 percent lived with just one parent. Four percent of the nation's children live without either parent.

One of the most positive findings from the study was a drop in the rate of preterm births.

"There was a decline in the number of preterm births, and the decline was seen in each of the three largest racial and ethnic groups," said Edward Sondik, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics, during the press conference.

The preterm birth rate -- babies born before 37 weeks of gestation -- dropped from 12.7 percent in 2007 to 12.3 percent in 2008. This is the second straight decline after years of steadily increasing rates of preterm birth, according to the report.

According to Sondik, "the etiology of preterm birth is quite complex and it's hard to know for sure which factors are responsible for this dip."

Dr. Diane Ashton, deputy medical director for the March of D
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