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Current State of Child Health in the United States 

Current State of Child Health in the United States
Chapter:
Current State of Child Health in the United States
Author(s):

Mienah Zulfacar Sharif

, Katherine A. Henry

, and Bergen B. Nelson

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199309375.003.0003
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date: 25 November 2020

At first glance, children in the United States may appear healthy, and child health has improved significantly over the past century. A deeper look, however, reveals a number of child health trends that are not so rosy. Despite being in one of the world’s richest nations, children in the United States face a myriad of potential problems as they grow. The prevalence of chronic, disabling diseases, particularly developmental, behavioral, and mental health problems including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), has increased over the past 15 to 20 years. Compared to other developed nations, the United States has ranked lower in recent decades in infant mortality and life expectancy, with worsening health disparities. We are now into the third decade of a childhood obesity epidemic. Finally, the US social and policy environments have led otherwise “healthy” children and adolescents to experience early death, major disability, and adverse life trajectories as a result of gun violence and incarceration.

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