Kids' Health Annual Report

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When it comes to child health, how are America's kids doing?

"Overall, the health of America's children is certainly good to excellent," says Edward Sondik, PhD, director of the National Center for Health Statistics.

"But the disparities that we've seen in the past continue to persist, and there's a considerable challenge there," he says.

Sondik and colleagues summed up the government's new report, "America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being 2005," in a media teleconference.

Report's Health Highlights

Among the report's findings:

  • 83% of parents said their kids were in "excellent" or "very good" health.

  • Teen births are at an all-time low: 22 live births per 1,000 girls aged 15-17.

  • Childhood immunization (for children aged 19 months to 35 months) is at a record high: 81% of kids get recommended shots.

  • The death rate continues to drop for kids aged 1-4 and 5-14.

  • Only 2% of U.S. kids aged 1-5 have high blood lead levels -- down from 89% 20 to 25 years ago.

    Infant Deaths, Low-Birth Weight Babies Rose Slightly

    Infant mortality, while still near a record low, rose from 6.8 per 1,000 live births in 2001 to 7.0 per 1,000 live births in 2002. That was mainly due to an increase in babies weighing less than 2 pounds at birth, states a news release.

    The number of low-birth-weight babies also rose slightly from 2002 to 2003 (from 7.8% to 7.9%).

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