Disparities in Children’s Health

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Rhode Island Kids COUNT (2012) Disparities in Children’s Health. Other. UNSPECIFIED.


A child’s health is strongly affected by the family and community environment in which he or she lives, learns and plays, as well as by access to high-quality health care, high-quality early learning and educational opportunities, and nurturing relationships with parents and other adults. Reducing disparities in child health requires community-based strategies and health care policies that support children’s healthy development at home, at school and in the community. Health insurance and health care are vital to children’s health status as a means of preventing or mitigating health problems and educating families about health issues. Health disparities are associated with family income, educational status, race and ethnicity, and geography. Poor and low-income children have higher rates of mortality and disability than higher income children and are more likely to be in fair or poor health. Research shows that as neighborhood poverty levels increase, child well-being and opportunities for success decrease. One in ten Rhode Island children lives in a neighborhood of concentrated poverty (defined as census tracts with poverty rates of 30% or more). African American and Latino children are more likely than White children to live in these neighborhoods. Black and Latino children are more likely to be in poor health than their White counterparts. Children who are poor, of color or uninsured are more likely to lack access to appropriate health care. Rhode Island’s children are diverse in terms of race, ethnicity and income. In 2010 in Rhode Island, 72% of children under age 18 were White, 8% were Black or African-American, 3% were Asian, less than 1% were Native American, 9% were Some other race and 7% were Two or more races. Twenty-one percent of Rhode Island children were Hispanic.