Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Children's Health

Font Size

America's Kids: Good, Bad News

Report Shows Progress, Backsliding in Well-Being of U.S. Children
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

July 14, 2006 - There's a lot of news in the annual report on U.S. kids' well-being. Some is good. Some is bad.

The statistics come from the federal government's annual statistical report, America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being 2006. Mandated by a presidential executive order, it's the work of 12 federal agencies.

"We see a mix of positive and negative trends," says Duane Alexander, MD, director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

For nearly every piece of good news, there seems to be some bad. Fortunately, much of the bad news is also tempered with good.

Some highlights and lowlights:

  • The birth rate for unmarried teens continues its decade-long downward trend. But more than half of births to women aged 20-24 are to unmarried women. In 2004, 36% of American children were born to unwed mothers.
  • Infant mortality dropped to 6.8 deaths per 1,000 children.
  • But the percentage of low-birth-weight babies -- 8.1% -- is the highest ever recorded. The low- birth-weight rate is 13.7% for blacks, which helps account for black Americans having about twice the child mortality rate of white Americans.
  • 89% of children aged 0-17 are covered by some form of health insurance.
  • But 17% of kids live in poverty. Moreover, 37% of America's children live in shelters, crowded quarters, or physically inadequate housing.
  • 82% of U.S. kids are in very good or excellent health, and 83% of children aged 19 to 35 months have had all their major vaccinations. But 18% of kids are overweight.
  • Cigarette smoking is down and fewer kids than ever are exposed to cigarette smoke in the home. But binge drinking remains steady at 11% of eighth-graders and 28% of twelfth-graders. Illicit drug use is unchanged at 9% of eighth-graders and 23% of twelfth-graders.
  • Fewer teens aged 12-17 were victims of violent crimes: down from 18 per 1,000 in 2003 to 11 per 1,000 in 2004. But the percentage of young people involved as offenders in violent crimes remained stable, at 14 per 1,000 youths.
  • Math scores got better for fourth- and eighth-graders, and reading scores got better for fourth-graders. But reading scores dropped for eighth- and twelfth-graders.

Today on WebMD

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.

worried kid
jennifer aniston
Measles virus
sick child

Child with adhd
rl with friends
Syringes and graph illustration