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The Top 10 Health Issues of Children in the USA

Parents' perceptions of "big health problems" facing children.

The top 10 overall health concerns for U.S. children in 2010 and the percentage of adults who rate each as a “big problem” include:

1. Childhood obesity, 38 percent
2. Drug abuse, 30 percent
3. Smoking, 29 percent
4. Internet safety, 25 percent
5. Stress, 24 percent
6. Bullying, 23 percent
7. Teen pregnancy, 23 percent
8. Child abuse and neglect, 21 percent
9. Alcohol abuse, 20 percent
10. Not enough opportunities for physical activity, 20 percent

So what do you notice? Cancer, heart disease, allery, asthma, etc. are not on the top ten list.

These top 10, as rated by parents, are all lifestyle, family, and mental health issues. 

And the reality is that incidence and prevalence rate studies confirm these parents' perceptions.

I would add anxiety, depression and school problems to this list, but they are probably already embedded in the list.

New Jersey actually has one of the better statewide children's mental health systems in the country. There are great services, such as mobile response and home-based services that can get to families within 24 to 48 hrs to help with a crisis. And these services are insurance-blind and available to every family, no matter income or life situation.

Prevention is complicated because the list of background risk factors is so huge. But early detection and intervention is possible and can be very beneficial.

The recent deaths in Connecticut only serve as a grim reminder to the sad outcomes that can accompany mental health issues that go unnoticed or untreated.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

judy December 27, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Hope Christian School on Elton-Adelphia Road in Freehold recognizes the seriousness of # 1. Childhood Obesity and # 10. Lack of opportunity for physical fitness activities for children. In response, we are now offering Spectacular Sports Kids Fitness ! This program offers Pre-school and School-Age children weekly opportunities to participate in a different, fun, fitness activity each week. Children will get fit while learning teamwork, good sportmanship, social skills, and basic rules of the game ! Preschool class takes place on Fridays 12:45-1:45 and School-Age class takes place on Fridays 4:00-5:00 p.m.. Call (732) 462-7545 for more info.

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