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Editorial
July 22, 2019

JAMA Pediatrics Call for Papers on Election-Year Policies and Children's Health

Author Affiliations
  • 1Center for Healthcare Research in Pediatrics, Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Associate Editor, JAMA Pediatrics
  • 3Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis
  • 4Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development, Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Seattle
  • 5Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle
  • 6Editor, JAMA Pediatrics
JAMA Pediatr. 2019;173(9):813-814. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.2636

Politicians have been known to kiss babies on the campaign trail, and the faces of children in the news often drum up political fervor.1,2 However, children do not vote, and the potential consequences of policies for children’s health are not always foremost in the minds of candidates or voters during an election cycle. Because children are seen as generally healthy and not the primary drivers of rising health care costs, they are often forgotten in health policy research and debate. Moreover, state and federal spending on health and social welfare demonstrates intergenerational inequities favoring elderly individuals.3 However, children younger than 18 years make up 22% of the population,4 and while they have the lowest per capita health care spending compared with other age groups, their spending has been growing faster than older age groups in recent years.5 A greater proportion of children are below the poverty level (18%) than adults,6 and inequities in wealth are more pronounced for households with children than for elderly households.7 In addition, the health and developmental trajectories of children have far-ranging effects on the health and well-being of their parents,8 their own health and well-being as they become adults, and the future economic and social well-being and human capital of the country.9

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