Thursday, June 04, 2009

Child well being in the U.S. at same level as in 1975

Again we see how the recession hurts the most vulnerable. A study that examines factors in childrens health says that the level of well being is the same as in 1975. Children are at an increased chance for obesity, as parents substitute nutritious foods for cheaper food. Also, there are more children being raised in poor conditions due to the global recession.

From AFP news via Google, writer Karin Zeitvogel attended the press conference that unveiled the report.

"We are in a period where, at least in economic well-being, we may be back where we were in 1975," Ruby Takanishi, head of the Foundation for Child Development which funded the 2009 Child Well-Being Index, told reporters at the launch of the report Wednesday in Washington.

The index, which uses US government data to assess how American children are doing in areas ranging from health to community-connectedness, shows that the welfare of US children began to decline last year as the country plunged into recession, and projected it would continue its downward slide.

"As the impact of the current recession reverberates through parents' employment and income patterns in families, as people are forced to move, lose their houses or otherwise have severe economic restrictions on what they can do, there will be impacts on child well-being," said Kenneth Land, research coordinator for the index.

Comparing current data with information from past recessions, the report predicts that child well-being will continue to sour until at least 2010, even though, said Land, economists are projecting that the economy will round the corner this year.

"The decline in child well-being will be driven most directly by the decline of material well-being," Land said.

"The number and percentage of children living below the poverty line will go up. The percentage of children living with at least one parent employed full-time, year-round will decline as the impact of job loss is felt," he said.

Median family income was projected to decline as unemployment rises, and single-parent families headed by men would be the hardest hit because more jobs are being cut in sectors like construction, dominated by male workers, than those in which women traditionally work, such as health care and education.

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