Top 10 child health concernsNews added by Benefits Pro on August 18, 2014

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By Dan Cook

Parents wring their hands over drug and alcohol abuse by children. Dread overwhelms them when news of yet another school shooting makes the news. And increasingly, bullying of one child by another has become a topic of research and debate.

But what is a parent’s No. 1 concern for their kids today? Childhood obesity.

That’s what research from C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and the University of Michigan reports, after asking more than 2,000 parents across America to rank their greatest concerns for their children.

The study culled out two trend lines: one from responses by local community and another from national averages. Obesity topped both lists.

“Obesity remains a top child health problem overall, which has been a persistent concern in our annual top 10 polls along with others like bullying, smoking and drug abuse,” says Matthew Davis, director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health. “But this year’s top 10 lists differ in key ways. School violence and gun-related injuries are on the list of big child health problems from a national perspective, but not a local community perspective.”

Here are the rankings of the Top 10 concerns, first nationally, then by local community:
    1. Childhood obesity: 55 percent say it's a "big problem"
    2. Bullying: 52 percent
    3. Drug abuse: 49 percent
    4. Smoking and tobacco use: 47 percent
    5. School violence: 44 percent
    6. Child abuse and neglect: 42 percent
    7. Alcohol abuse: 41 percent
    8. Internet safety: 40 percent
    9. Gun-related injuries: 39 percent
    10. Teen pregnancy: 37 percent
Local rankings:
    1. Childhood obesity: 29 percent
    2. Smoking/tobacco: 26 percent
    3. Drugs: 26 percent
    4. Bullying: 23 percent
    5. Stress: 22 percent
    6. Alcohol: 19 percent
    7. Internet safety: 18 percent
    8. Child abuse/neglect: 18 percent
    9. Teen pregnancy: 16 percent
    10. Too little physical activity: 15 percent
“Recent data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that rates of obesity in early childhood are decreasing in some states,” says Davis. “But we know obesity among children remains substantially higher than it was in generations past. So this poll reminds us that much of the public recognizes the need to keep working hard on this problem.”

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