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Public Opinion and Health Care
December 23/30, 1998

Americans' Views on Children's Health

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Health Policy and Management (Dr Blendon and Mr Young) and Maternal and Child Health (Dr McCormick), Harvard School of Public Health and the Kennedy School of Government (Dr Blendon), Harvard University, Boston, Mass; and the University of Maryland, Survey Research Center, College Park (Dr Kropf and Mr Blair).

JAMA. 1998;280(24):2122-2127. doi:10.1001/jama.280.24.2122

OVER THE PAST few years, several articles and reports have presented data showing that many children in the United States suffer under conditions that put them at risk for poor health outcomes15 and that limit the likelihood that they will enjoy healthy and productive lives as adults.2 As the national data portray, over the last decade there has been substantial improvement in many health indicators for children in the United States. For example, both infant and child mortality rates have declined substantially since 1979.1,6,7 Still, nearly 2 (63%) of 3 children's deaths result from unintentional injury, homicide, or suicide.1 Experts say that many of these deaths could be prevented with increased education and treatment for children at risk. Despite these improvements, the United States continues to lag behind other industrialized countries in a number of areas. These include infant mortality, mortality in children younger than 5 years, life expectancy at birth, low birth weight,8 and the proportion of children living in poverty9 and without health insurance.10

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