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Family And Community Affect Children’s Health

It may not be that surprising, but a new study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that healthcare, family and community factors impact upon the mental health and behavior of children in early childhood.

Examining data collated between 2001 and 2012, medical researchers found that 1 out of 7 U.S. children aged 2 to 8 years (approximately 35,000 children) had some form of medically assessed mental, behavioral or developmental disorder (MBDD). Data was drawn from the U.S. National Survey of Children’s Health. The aim of the survey is to “data on multiple, intersecting aspects of children’s lives—including physical and mental health, access to quality health care, and the child’s family, neighborhood, school, and social context.”

Further examination showed several healthcare, family, and community factors were linked to the children with MBDDs. These disorders comprise language disorders, learning disorders, motor disorders and autism spectrum disorders. They are commonly categorized as:

  • Anxiety disorders,
  • Disruptive behavioral disorders,
  • Dissociative disorders,
  • Emotional disorders,
  • Pervasive developmental disorders.

The survey found factors associated with the highest prevalence of children with MBDDs were children live in areas with no medical center; children living in a neighborhood lacking amenities; children in families with a low income and those living in a neighborhood in poor condition.

States with the highest incidences of MBDDs were South Carolina, Vermont and Arizona. Going forward the CDC hopes that a greater understanding of the impact from social life will help with future prevention efforts.

About the author

Tim Sandle

Dr. Tim Sandle is a chartered biologist and holds a first class honours degree in Applied Biology; a Masters degree in education; and has a doctorate from Keele University.

  • Victor Grayson

    Very interesting!