Back to School


Income, Parental Education Significantly Affect Children’s Health

October 10, 2008 12:19 PM
by Lindsey Chapman
A new study has found that poverty and a lack of parental education prevent some children from living past their first birthdays.

Disparities in Children’s Health

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America recently released the results of a state-by-state study of how a child’s health relates to household income and their parents’ education level. The group’s findings indicate that the better off parents are in terms of education and finances, the more likely they are to raise healthy children.

According to U.S. News & World Report, 16 percent of children under age 17 “are in less than optimal health.” Sue Egerter, one of the study’s authors, said, “These children are not simply suffering from earaches, these are kids with much higher rates of chronic medical conditions including asthma, respiratory allergies and learning disabilities.” In combination, sound finances and education help parents make smart health-related choices for their children and provide them with access to health care when necessary.

“In almost every state and the District of Columbia, children in the poorest and least educated households suffer the worst health outcomes,” the commission stated. In fact, kids living in the “poorest and least educated households” may not even live until their first birthdays.

“This vividly illustrates how much education and income matter to children’s health,” Paula Braveman of the University of California, San Francisco, Center on Social Disparities in Health, said in a Deseret News article.

Maine held the top spot for the lowest infant mortality rate in the country, followed by Utah. The commission’s next study is a review of how factors outside health care can affect an individual’s lifestyle. Recommendations for improving health will be released in April 2009.

Related Topics: U.S. infant mortality rates; global poverty

Infant Mortality Rates
Global Poverty

Reference: Children’s Health


Most Recent Beyond The Headlines