WebMD Medical News
Louise Chang, MD
July 6, 2011 -- Adolescent injury deaths have dropped in recent years, and so have percentages of childhood and preterm births, according to a new federal report on the overall well-being of America's youth.
The report, "America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being 2011," says injury deaths of children ages 5 to 14 dropped from 6.1 per 100,000 in 2008 to 5.7 per 100,000 in 2009.
In that period, injury deaths declined from 44 per 100,000 to 39 per 100,000 among 15-to-19-year olds.
But not all statistics highlighted in the massive report are rosy. For example, a higher proportion of eighth graders used illicit drugs in the period studied, more children lived in poverty, 59% of children lived in counties where air pollutants were above safe standards, and the poverty rate for all children increased from 18% in 2007 to 21% in 2009.
Among key findings in the report:
Alan E. Guttmacher, MD, director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, says in a news release that it was "reassuring" to see continued declines in preterm and adolescent birth rates.
Edward Sondik, PhD, director of the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, points to "significant declines in infant mortality and in fatal injuries to teens" as being among the more interesting snapshots contained in the report.
The report's special feature on adoption says adoption is preferred over alternatives such as long-term foster care or care in group homes, emergency shelters, and orphanages. While most adopted children thrive, some experience disruptions in parenting that can affect long-term well-being, the report says.
The report was compiled by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, a group of 22 federal agencies that collect, analyze, and convey data on issues related to children and families.
SOURCES:News release, National Institutes of Health.America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2011.
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