Georgia children’s health factors improving but among U.S.’ lowest

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(AP Photo/Amy Forliti)

by Ariel HartThe Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia’s children rank among the nation’s least healthy, according to an annual report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

In only seven other states does a greater portion of the children lack health insurance. In only five other states are more babies born underweight. Georgia also ranked worse than the national average in several other categories related to children’s health and well-being, including deaths of minors.

The foundation wants to let states know what they can do to improve children’s lives. It looks at health and factors that affect health, such as education and families’ economic stability.

It said one initiative had already made improvements for children in Georgia and states across the board: More children now have health insurance following implementation of Obamacare, the federal Affordable Care Act. The improvement “represents an undeniable success for public investment,” found the report, the 2017 Kids Count Data Book.

It did not delve into deeper issues many families have had with Obamacare, including rising premiums and large deductibles.

As of 2015, the last year for which data were available, 7 percent of Georgia children did not have health insurance, the report found.

Overall, Georgia ranked 42nd in the nation for overall well-being of its children and 38th for the specific health ranking.

Areas of improvement for Georgia included:

  • The percent of teens age 16 and up not attending school and not working declined to 9 percent.
  • Children ages 12 to 17 who abused alcohol or drugs went down from 6 percent in recent years to 5 percent the last couple of years.
  • The state’s child and teen death rate veered up and down from 2010 to 2015. It rose from 2014 to 2015, but overall it fell from 2010. In 2015 it found 29 out of 100,000 children died.

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