Exercise, obesity, and smoking top this year’s list of child health concerns

Every year, the National Poll on Children’s Health reports on the top 10 child health concerns in the U.S. according to adults across the country. In this year’s 6th annual top 10 report, adults said ‘not enough exercise’ is the biggest health concern for kids in the U.S. Childhood obesity was the second biggest concern overall and smoking and tobacco use was third. Drug abuse and bullying rounded out the top 5.

Top 10 U.S. Children's Health Problems, Percent Rated as a "Big Problem" in 2012

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There were some differences on the top 10 lists between adults from different racial/ethnic backgrounds. Hispanic adults said childhood obesity is the top child health concern for kids in their communities, while black adults said smoking and tobacco use is the biggest child health problem. Black and Hispanic adults both identified sexually transmitted infections as a greater concern for kids in their communities than did white adults. Despite these differences, Hispanic, black and white adults agreed that ‘not enough exercise’ and obesity are two of the top three most pressing health concerns for kids in their communities.

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Many of the health concerns in this year’s top 10 report are health behaviors among children and adolescents. This underscores the important of public programs and communication initiatives—for example, those designed to prevent drug abuse, tobacco use, alcohol abuse and teen pregnancy. Given the high level of public concern about these health problems for youth, it is likely such programs will receive public support but also high public expectations for progress in prevention.

Video: NPCH Director Dr. Matthew Davis discusses the top 10 health concerns for kids in the U.S.

Video: Dr. Matthew Davis, Director de esta Encuesta Nacional, discute las preocupaciónes de los adultos sobre la salud de niños en los EE.UU.