Racing champ Jeff Gordon's focus on children's health comes at a crucial time. The number of U.S. children with chronic health conditions has risen dramatically in the past four decades, according to a study published last June in The Journal of the American Medical Association. Some of the study's findings:
- Of 80 million children in America, about 8% (6.5 million) have chronic conditions that interfere with regular daily activity, says study author James M. Perrin, MD, professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
- The top three problems are obesity, asthma, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
- A study in the June 2008 Pediatrics reveals that leukemia is the most common childhood cancer. Childhood cancer is rare but is still the leading cause of disease-related deaths for children.
Fortunately, Gordon and his foundation counter with a few stats of their own:
- $6 million raised since 1999.
- Major funding for the Jeff Gordon Children's Hospital in Concord, N.C., and the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.
- More than 200 children's wishes granted through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.