The 70 million children in the United States under age 18 years are smoking less, dying from firearm injuries less frequently, and giving birth to fewer infants today than they were a few years ago, according to the federal government's fifth annual report, America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well Being.
Daily smoking rates for 10th- and 12th-graders dropped 4% from 4 years ago, to 14% and 21%, respectively, while the death rate for teenagers is at an all-time low, at 71 per 100 000 population. The greatest decline in mortality came from firearm deaths, which fell from 28 per 100 000 in 1994 to 16 per 100 000 in 1998. Teenage birth rates have declined by one fourth between 1991 and 1999, with the rate for 15- to 17-year-olds at 29 per 1000, also a record low.
Vastag B. Children's Health Improvement. JAMA. 2001;286(7):781. doi:10.1001/jama.286.7.781-JHA10008-3-1