MINNEAPOLIS and ST. PAUL, Minn., Oct. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- High school girls in Minnesota are reporting significantly less physical activity than boys the same age. Tobacco use – a risky behavior and a trend more recently associated with girls – is now more prevalent among Minnesota boys. Three of every 10 children in Minnesota live in low-income households where their parents are less than confident they can find needed health care.
These are just a sample of the findings from a new report released today from Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. The report, titled Children's Check-Ups: The State of Children's Health in Minnesota, outlines the health status of Minnesota children. It is the first in a series of reports that will closely examine topical health issues facing Minnesota families and children over the next two years.
Comprised of data analyzed by the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) at the University of Minnesota, the reports will focus on issues that are top of mind for Minnesota parents and families: vaccinations, body image and obesity, and risky behaviors among children. This initial report takes a high-level look at how Minnesota children stack up nationally and compare to the five-state Upper Midwest region, which includes the Dakotas, Wisconsin and Iowa.
"We want to start a dialogue on the health and well-being of our children," said Alan L. Goldbloom, MD, President and CEO of Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. "Overall, Minnesota ranks high in children's health. We can be proud of that, but this report shows areas of concern and we have work to do. Children must remain a top priority and our state's leaders need to address these areas of improvement to ensure a healthy future.
One area of concern is the data that shows children from lower-income families aren't as healthy as other children and don't have as much access to health care. As the state continues to cut funding for Medical Assistance, the health care gap is likely to increase."
Other key findings in the report include:
- Many kids, especially ones in lower-income families, are uninsured. In 2009, 12 percent of the state's children had been uninsured at some point in the past year and 4 percent had been uninsured for a year or more. Children in lower-income households were 3.5 times more likely than higher-income children to be uninsured.
- Regional health insurance variations. Health care coverage varies throughout the state with more children in the seven-county Twin Cities metro area enrolled in private insurance than any other region (74.8 percent). Children in the Northeast have the highest use of public insurance at 36.9 percent. The Northwest region has the most uninsured children at 12.9 percent.
- Minnesota has a foothold in the obesity battle. The state's children are better than the national average when it comes to obesity. Among Minnesota children ages 10 to 17, 11 percent are obese, compared to the national average of 16 percent.
The full report can found at www.childrensmn.org/checkups.
Gubernatorial Candidates to Address Health Issues in Upcoming Debate
To coincide with the release of the Children's Check-Ups report, Children's and the Minnesota Early Learning Foundation will host a debate featuring the gubernatorial candidates on Monday, Oct. 11 from noon to 1 p.m. at the Minnesota Children's Museum in St. Paul. All three major party candidates – Mark Dayton, Tom Emmer and Tom Horner – are confirmed for the event. Dubbed the Minnesota Children's Forum: Ensuring Success for Our Next Generation, the debate will focus on topics pertaining to the health, education and general well-being of Minnesota's children. MinnPost is a debate partner and will encourage participation from voters across the state through social media channels at www.minnesotachildrensforum.org.
About Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
Serving as Minnesota's children's hospital since 1924, Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota is the seventh-largest pediatric health care organization in the United States, with 332 staffed beds at its two hospitals in St. Paul and Minneapolis. An independent, not-for-profit health care system, Children's of Minnesota provides care through more than 14,000 inpatient visits and more than 200,000 emergency room and other outpatient visits every year. Children's is the only Minnesota hospital system to provide comprehensive care exclusively to children.
SOURCE Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota