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New Report IDs Indicators of Children's Well-Being

In 2009, more children lived in poverty and more households with children had housing problems

FRIDAY, July 8 (HealthDay News) -- Seven major domains characterize or influence the well-being of a child by means of various indicators, according to the "America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being 2011" report, published by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics.

Traci Cook, from the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics in Washington, D.C., and colleagues collected data and provided a summary of national indicators in the seven major domains of children's well-being: family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health.

The researchers report that children comprise 24 percent of the U.S. population, with increasing racial and ethnic diversity. Since 1980, there has been a decrease in the percentage of children living with two married parents. In 2009, more children were defined as living in poverty, fewer children had at least one parent working full time, and more households with children had housing problems. Ninety percent of children had health insurance coverage at some point during 2009. The percentage of obese children has remained stable, but asthma incidence has been an increasing since 2001. Fewer children now live in counties with air pollutants above allowable levels, but 7 percent still have drinking water that does not meet federal health standards. Smoking, and alcohol and drug use have remained stable, apart from an increase in illicit drug use among eighth graders, and decreased alcohol use in 12th graders. Mathematics and reading achievements increased for most age groups, but fewer young children are read to.

"America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being 2011 provides the nation with a summary of national indicators of children's well-being and monitors changes in these indicators," the authors write.

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