U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
This report shows both good and bad trends in the health status and service needs of America’s children. In recent years, child health insurance coverage has gone up, more children are getting vaccines and adolescent birth rates are down. However, the percentage of low birth-weight babies has risen, as has the rate of sexually transmitted diseases among youth.
The report’s state data, taken mostly from 1998, reveal significant disparities. Southern states such as Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina, Louisiana and Mississippi had a higher rate of low birth-weight babies than did other parts of the country. The proportion of children with health care financed by Medicaid varied from 7.1 percent (Nevada) to 36.3 percent (New Mexico).
Other disparities lie in city-nation comparisons and race comparisons. The percentage of women receiving late or no prenatal care in 1998 was nearly one-third higher in cities (5.1 percent) than in the nation as a whole (3.9 percent). And while 83 percent of pregnant women in the U.S. received prenatal care in their first trimester, the figure was 74 percent for Hispanics and 73 percent for African Americans.
The report looks at 59 health status measures that are linked to HHS’ Healthy People 2010 initiative goals. Data were derived from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the U.S. Department of Education and the Urban Institute’s National Survey of America’s Families. 79 pages. Free. National Maternal and Child Health Clearinghouse, 5600 Fishers Ln., Rm. 18-05, Rockville, MD 20857. (888) 434-4624. www.mchb.hrsa.gov.