U.S. Pharmacist



Key Health Indicators in Children

Somnath Pal, BS (Pharm), MBA, PhD
Professor of Pharmacy Administration
College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, St. John’s University
Jamaica, New York



US Pharm. 2014;39(5):7.

Data on key health indicators in children, such as birthweight, breastfeeding, television viewing, smoking, and anemia, were collected by the 2010 Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System.

Low Birthweight: Although the infant mortality rate fell from 26 to seven per 1,000 live births between 1996 and 1999, low-birthweight (LBW) infants (<2,500 g) were 40 times more likely than normal-birthweight infants to die during the first 4 weeks of life. The overall prevalence of LBW births, which remained stable at 9% from 2001 through 2010, was higher in black infants (13.2%) than in white (8.5%), Asian/Pacific Islander (8.9%), American Indian (8.2%), and Hispanic (7.1%) infants.

Breastfeeding: Between 2001 and 2010, there was a 13.1% increase in breastfeeding initiation, with prevalence across all ethnic groups. In 2010, 10.7% of infants were exclusively breastfed for ≥3 months. About 63% of infants were ever breastfed, and 25.1% were breastfed for ≥6 months. The proportion of infants breastfed for ≥6 months increased from 21.5% (2001) to 25.1% (2010). The increase occurred across all ethnic groups, with Hispanic infants at 35.1% (highest) and black infants at 18% (lowest).

Television Viewing: In 2010, 79.2% of children aged 2 to 4 years viewed ≤2 hours of television daily. The proportion of children meeting this American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation was lowest among black (69.9%) and American Indian or Alaska Native children (77.6%) and highest among white children (85.1%).

Household Smoking: In 2010, 9.4% of children were exposed to household smoke. Exposure was highest in white (17%) and black children (9.5%) and lowest in Asian/Pacific Islander children (4.2%). Exposure in children aged <1 year was lower (8.5%) than in those aged 0 to 4 years (9.4%). Women who smoked during the first and second trimesters had a 70% increased risk of delivering an LBW infant, versus a 30% increased risk in women who smoked during the first trimester only.

Anemia: Despite increased administration of iron to infants over the last 50 years, 14.6% of children were anemic, with the highest prevalence in those aged 6 to 23 months (18.1%) and those aged 12 to 17 months (18.2%). The lowest prevalence was in children aged 3 to 4 years (10.6%). The overall prevalence of anemia increased slightly, from 13.4% in 2001 to 14.6% in 2010. During this period, the overall prevalence of anemia dropped to 13% in 2002, but increased subsequently. In 2010, the highest prevalence was in black children (22.5%), and the lowest prevalence was in white children (11.2%). From 2001 through 2010, the largest increase was in black children (2.9%). The prevalence declined slightly among Asian/Pacific Islander children.

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U.S. Pharmacist is a monthly journal dedicated to providing the nation's pharmacists with up-to-date, authoritative, peer-reviewed clinical articles relevant to contemporary pharmacy practice in a variety of settings, including community pharmacy, hospitals, managed care systems, ambulatory care clinics, home care organizations, long-term care facilities, industry and academia. The publication is also useful to pharmacy technicians, students, other health professionals and individuals interested in health management. Pharmacists licensed in the U.S. can earn Continuing Education credits through Postgraduate Healthcare Education, LLC, accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) as a provider of continuing pharmacy education.

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