The Status Of Child Health And Wellness In America Today

Child health and wellness in America today points to a major gap between the wellbeing of wealthy children and poor children. This needs to change

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April 25, 2019
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  The United States is one of the world’s wealthiest countries, and it shows in the health and wellness of the majority of American children, who are well cared for by qualified adults and have access to good nutrition, quality health care, and education. But according to the American Federation of Teachers, 1 in 5 children living in the United States today live in a household where there isn’t enough food or other necessary resources. Also according to the American Federation of Teachers, 1 in 5 American children suffer from an untreated mental illness, which can impact their ability to do well in school and form lasting bonds with other children. It can also negatively impact their general safety. Children From Poor Families Are More Likely to Have Health Issues. American children facing these issues very often come from poor families. Studies show that economic stress can lead to problems with brain development in small children and have a long-term effect on a child’s learning ability, long-term health and overall behavior. There is even some evidence that children from low-income households enter kindergarten already lagging behind children from average- or high-income families in math and reading skills. Often poor children also have behavioral issues that can have an impact their ability to learn once they get to school, as well as their ability to hold down a job later in life. Children who are poor are also more likely to live in substandard housing and to be exposed to crime, domestic violence, neglect, abuse, and other physical and mental stressors. Low-income Americans have higher rates of heart disease, diabetes and stroke compared to higher-income people. Poor health can impact a person’s ability to work, creating an unending cycle. Children from Low-Income Families Are Less Likely to Form Strong Bonds With Caregivers. Children from poor households are also less likely to form strong bonds with their caregivers, a problem that can affect a child’s long-term physical and mental health and reduce a child’s prospects for achieving long-term happiness as an adult, according to the London Journal of Primary Care. Children who don’t bond with their caregivers have also been shown to have issues forming relationships as adults, and are more likely to commit or be the victims of crimes. Poor Children Are More Likely to be Placed in Foster Care and/or to be Put Up For Adoption. According to The Maynard Law Firm, a law office in Fort Worth, Texas, that specializes in adoption law, “Children from low income households are often more likely to end up in the care of child protective services and/or in foster homes. We see a definite correlation between rising child poverty rates and the number of children being adopted from foster home situations.” Reducing Child Poverty Can Improve America’s Future Health. Reducing child poverty in the United States is one of the best ways to help improve the future health of America’s children. One of the best ways to accomplish this goal is by improving the status of poor parents. Poverty is often the result of low educational attainment, drug or alcohol abuse, untreated mental illness, or a combination of all three. Job training programs and the opportunity to attain high school or college credentials, combined with comprehensive childcare options, health and wellness care, and substance abuse treatment programs are among the ways we can help support parental employment to reduce child poverty levels. According to the nonprofit Bevan Foundation, a think tank based in Wales that deals with issues related to poverty, inequality and justice, supporting the ability of mothers to work by providing free or low-cost childcare services and offering free or low-cost counseling to help support poor parents’ marital relationships, are also ways that child poverty can potentially be reduced. Conclusion According to the online journal Health Affairs, there is strong evidence that over the past several decades increasing income inequality in the United States has negatively impacted the health of low-income families overall and has reduced the life expectancy of poor children and adults. Instituting policies that promote economic equality could have a positive long-term effect on Americans’ overall health and economic wellbeing. A greater degree of economic equality has also been shown to have a positive effect on the economy in general. The healthier and more educated America’s workforce is, the greater our country’s ability will be to compete with other countries economically. More children growing up in stable, healthy homes will also mean a stronger military, increased technological innovation and reduced healthcare costs and crime rates.

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