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Commentary
August 26, 2009

A Moral Imperative for Children

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York.

JAMA. 2009;302(8):892-893. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1260

It is unclear why the United States lacks broad, comprehensive policies that consistently address the status of children (those younger than 18 years). In the United Nations Children's Fund's (UNICEF’s) Innocenti Report Card 7 on child well-being in wealthy countries,1 an analysis of child well-being is composed of 6 dimensions: material well-being, health and safety, educational well-being, family and peer relationships, behaviors and risks, and subjective well-being (as measured by child report). These 6 dimensions are captured in a broad survey designed to monitor the progress of children from a holistic view. The dimensions reflect the concepts articulated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries listed in the report are the 21 of 30 participating countries for which complete data were available. In this analysis, the United States ranks 21 of 21 countries for health and safety and 20 of 21 countries for all composite measures, excluding subjective well-being, which, ironically, is not reported for US children.

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