Children's health

Graphic of the week


New analysis from the Health Policy Institute of Ohio found that the number of firearm-involved deaths among Ohio children increased sharply in recent years, as illustrated above.
According to data from the Ohio Department of Health’s Ohio Public Health Data Warehouse, there were 104 deaths involving a firearm of children ages 0-17 in Ohio in 2022, or a rate of 4.05 deaths per 100,000 children. That is more than double the rate of 2007, when the death rate was 1.76 per 100,000 Ohio children.
What Works for Health, an online tool developed by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute to identify evidence-informed health policies, includes a number of potential options that local and state leaders can consider to increase firearm safety for children.

Child and teen cancer death rates drop 24% in past 20 years, CDC data shows

The rate of child and teen cancer deaths in the U.S. fell 24% from 2001 to 2021, according to a report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Source: “Child and teen cancer deaths fell 24% in the last 2 decades, CDC says,” NBC, Nov. 16).
Death rates among children of all ages dropped between 2001 and 2011. But after 2011, only children 9 and younger saw "significant" declines.
All races saw cancer death rates fall 15-17% within the first decade, but only death rates among white children continued to drop significantly after 2011. The death rate dropped only slightly for Hispanic youths — and increased for Black youths — between 2011 and 2021. By 2021, the report noted, the rate for white youths was 19-20% lower than for their Black and Hispanic peers.
Pediatric oncologists say the overall decline could be explained by advancements in treatments for certain cancers.

Ohio joins 40 states suing Meta over claims Instagram, Facebook damage youth mental health

More than 40 states, including Ohio, have filed suit in federal court against Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, claiming that the social media company has harmed young people’s mental health – addicting them while misleading the public about the platforms' safety (Source: “Ohio joins 40 states suing Meta alleging that Instagram and Facebook are harmful for kids,” Columbus Dispatch, Oct. 24).
In the lawsuit filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the states allege that the company has profited in how it has designed Instagram and Facebook to maximize time spent on the platforms by teens and children, which led to increased advertising revenue.
The suit cites several studies including Meta’s own research showing links between young people's use of Instagram and Facebook with depression, anxiety and other health issues. 

HPIO Data Snapshot highlights prevalence of adverse childhood experiences in Ohio

HPIO has released a new Data Snapshot that highlights the prevalence of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in Ohio, displays differences in exposure to ACEs for groups of Ohioans and shows how ACEs connect to poor health outcomes.

Exposure to ACEs — potentially traumatic events that occur during childhood — is a pervasive problem affecting many children in Ohio and across the country. ACEs exposure contributes to poor health and well-being throughout life, including disrupted neurodevelopment, social and emotional challenges, disease, disability and premature death.

In 2021, nearly two thirds of Ohio adults reported having been exposed to ACEs, and nearly half of all adults reported being exposed to two or more ACEs, as illustrated above.

Starting in 2020, HPIO released a series of policy briefs on the health and economic impacts of ACEs and elevated 12 evidence-informed, cost-effects strategies (program, policies and practices) that can prevent ACEs.

ODH warns of rising risk of children poisoned by vape liquid

During a press conference this week, Ohio Department of Health Director, Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, warned of the rising danger of children being poisoned by the liquid used in e-cigarettes and vapes (Source: “More young children are getting sick from vape liquid; they don't even have to smoke it,” Columbus Dispatch, Oct. 19).
The number of e-cigarette exposures reported to the state’s poison centers has nearly tripled over the past seven years from 130 in 2015 to 360 in 2022. So far this year, 328 exposures have been recorded, signaling another likely increase. 
Dr. Vanderhoff said most of those exposures, over 70%, have been reported in children 5 years old and younger. Most exposures of children to liquid nicotine are through ingestion and as many as a third of those children have developed symptoms such as vomiting, fast heart rates and irritation of the mouth, said Dr. Hannah Hays, medical director of the Central Ohio Poison Center and chief of toxicology for Nationwide Children's Hospital.  
Officials said the best way to prevent such exposures is for adults to store their liquid nicotine products somewhere that is up and away and out of sight of children, preferably locked in a cabinet or box.

Graphic of the week


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Consistent with national research findings and previous HPIO work, new analysis from the Institute finds that Ohioans who reported experiencing more adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) were also more likely to report negative outcomes that contribute to poor health. For example, as illustrated above, the percent of Ohioans who were exposed to two or more ACEs were almost twice as likely to smoke (23%) as those exposed to no ACEs (13%). Similarly, the percent of Ohioans with depression who were exposed to two or more ACEs (34%) was more than three times higher than Ohioans with depression who reported no ACEs (11%).

Exposure to ACEs affects many children in Ohio and across the country. National data and analysis provide clear evidence that ACEs exposure is linked to poor health and well-being through adulthood, including disrupted neurodevelopment, social problems, disease, disability and premature death. In addition, ACEs exposure has severe long-term cost implications at the individual and societal levels, including increased medical, child welfare, criminal justice and special education expenditures. However, the negative effects of ACEs can be mitigated. HPIO has presented 12 key strategies to intervene early and prevent the poor health outcomes associated with ACEs.

Click here to learn more about HPIO’s Ohio ACEs Impact project

Subsidized meals at childcare centers boost health of kids and their families, new study finds

A new analysis suggests that a federally-funded, state-administered initiative to provide meals to children in daycare settings positively affects not just children but also their families, tying subsidized child-care meals to better child health and lower rates of household food insecurity (Source: “Subsidized meals in child care tied to healthier kids and families,” Washington Post, Sept. 24).

The study of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, found children who received subsidized meals in child-care settings were 30% less likely to have household food insecurity, 39% less likely to have poor or fair health, and 41% less likely to be admitted to the hospital from the emergency room than their peers who ate meals provided by their parents while in care.

Researchers interviewed primary caregivers of 3,084 young children receiving ER or primary care in Baltimore, Boston, Little Rock, Minneapolis and Philadelphia between 2010 and 2020. All of the children were between 13 and 48 months old and lived in low-income households, and all received subsidized care outside the home for 20 hours or more per week. Most of the children were eligible for CACFP.

Census Bureau: U.S. child poverty spikes following end of pandemic relief

The poverty rate in the U.S. has risen dramatically in the year since pandemic benefits ran out — and the child poverty rate has more than doubled, according to U.S. Census Bureau's annual data on poverty, income and health insurance released Tuesday (Source: “Child poverty more than doubles — a year after hitting record low, Census data shows,” NPR, Sept. 12).

Just a year ago, child poverty hit a historic low of 5.2%. The latest Census Bureau figures put it at 12.4%, the same as the overall poverty rate. The surge happened as record inflation was rising and a lot of pandemic relief was running out, but Census officials and other experts say a key was the child tax credit.

In 2021, Congress increased the amount of the credit as part of the American Rescue Plan and expanded eligibility to include millions more families with low incomes.

When the tax credit ended, surveys found many parents had trouble paying bills and covering basic expenses like rent and groceries.

Graphic of the week


September is National Suicide Prevention Month and new data analysis from the Health Policy Institute of Ohio found that mental health challenges increased for high school students in Ohio during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a particularly striking increase among female high school students.

According to data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, Ohio high school teens reported increases from 2019 to 2021 in feeling sad or hopeless, seriously considering suicide, making a plan to attempt suicide, attempting suicide and having a suicide attempt that resulted in being treated by a doctor or nurse.

However, the increases for female teens were drastically higher than for males, as illustrated above. Attempted suicides among female students increased by 148% between 2019 and 2021, compared to a 51% decrease for males. And attempts resulting in treatment from a medical professional increased 33% for females and dropped 81% for males during the same time period.

If you or someone you know needs help, call or text 988 to get in touch with the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. 

HPIO forum to explore prevention of ACEs

The Health Policy Institute of Ohio is hosting a webinar from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 19 to discuss strategies to prevent adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in Ohio through building skills and strengthening connections to caring adults.

Click here to register

This forum will walk through HPIO's recent ACEs publication that highlights four cost-effective, evidence-informed strategies being implemented across the state that build important skills to handle stress, manage emotions, and tackle everyday challenges and connect youth to caring adults and activities. 

Improving assets and resources can buffer children and families from the well-documented harmful effects of toxic stress and adversity and promote the ability to withstand, adapt and recover from trauma. Increasing these protective factors can lead to stronger families, better health, educational and employment outcomes and benefits to society at large.