Trends in the Health of Young Children in California
This policy brief compares three CHIS survey cycles –- 2001, 2003 and 2005 –- to examine key indicators of children’s health in California. The results present both positive changes and worrisome trends on topics such as children’s health outcomes, access to services, early learning opportunities and insurance status. Researchers found a slight decrease in the prevalence of overweight children, an increase in the number of children receiving dental care and attending preschool. However low-income children benefitted less from these positive developments and were more vulnerable to negative trends. The policy brief found that two-thirds of children without health insurance are from low-income families. Low-income children utilize community clinics for primary care at three times the rate of higher income children. And the proportion of children enrolled in private health insurance is shrinking – while the reliance on public programs is growing. Although positive progress is noted, the report’s authors note that negative trends suggest the need for a renewed commitment to children’s health on such issues as: expanding early childhood education, increasing access to health care, investing in community clinics and promoting health food choices and physical activity.