Teen Smoking, Birth Rates Down Children's and Youths' Diets Need Improvement
America's children are, on average, doing better in several respects than they have in recent years, according to the third annual Federal report, America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being.
The report, issued by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, represents a comprehensive look at such critical aspects of child well-being as family structure, economic security, health status, access to health care, behavior, social environment, and education.
"We're happy to report that the well-being of America's children has improved in several key areas," said Duane Alexander, M.D., Director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). "Infant, childhood, and adolescent death rates are down, as are teen smoking, teen crime, and teen birth rates."
Statistics in the Forum report show other trends regarding America's children. For example, preschool enrollment rates are up. Most children and adolescents have a diet that is poor or needs improvement. In addition, 12 percent of America's children have difficulty performing everyday activities, most of whom have a learning disability or a limitation in the ability to communicate.
Infant, child, and adolescent mortality have declined, noted Edward Sondik, Ph.D, Director of the National Center for Health Statistics.
"The findings on mortality represent a true success story," Dr. Sondik said. "Fewer children die during infancy and the mortality rate for all children has continued to fall."
The infant mortality rate has dropped since 1983, from 10.9 deaths per 1,000 live births, to 7.2 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1997.
Although the death rate for almost all groups of children has declined,
the drop was greatest for black children from ages 1 to 4. From 1996 to 1997,
Contact: Robert Bock
NIH/National Institute of Child Health and Human Development