Children At Risk: Child Health in America

Date of Graduation

Spring 1993


Master of Public Administration


Political Science

Committee Chair

Kant Patel


After decades of improvement in child health, new morbidities, altered family structures, and changing social polices are endangering the health of American children. Children's health in the U.S. is in a state of crisis. This thesis is a descriptive study of trends and issues affecting the health of the Nation's children and pregnant women. In 1986, 26 percent of the U.S. population was under the age of 18, and one-third of these children lived in families affected by divorce. While millions of children are unable to afford healthcare, the elderly continue to utilize vast resources, and their numbers are swelling. Publicly funded sources of health care have shown a sharp decline. One in five children live in poverty, which increases the likelihood that these children will be in poor health. Recent data reveals an increase in the number of low-birthweight babies born each year, the number of children suffering from a chronic illness, and the percentage of children who are technology-dependent. Yet, fewer women receive prenatal care now than in 1970 and the percentage of children receiving immunizations, and preventive medical and dental care is declining. The morbidity associated with adolescent depression, teen births, substance abuse, and violence is increasing rapidly, and AIDS is emerging as a major health crisis for children. However, the numbers of uninsured families continue to increase, and millions of children face multiple barriers to health care. Clearly, the health of America's children and pregnant women is deteriorating. The future health of our children depends on the provision of adequate, timely health care services, coupled with educational, preventive, and welfare support.

Subject Categories

Public Administration


© Melissa Beach Haddow