|February 20, 2014||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Health, Policy, Research, Youth Development|
After a period of aggressive growth, obesity rates among American youth have stabilized somewhat in the last decade. Unfortunately, this good news may distract from the trend data indicating that obesity remains a cause for concern among certain sub-groups of youth.
In the paper, Increasing socioeconomic disparities in adolescent obesity, authors Carl B. Frederick, Kaisa Snellman, and Robert D. Putnam discuss the idea of income level as a kind of dividing line in recent obesity trends. In the early 2000’s, obesity rates declined for youth in higher socioeconomic categories, while slowing down or increasing among lower-income groups. The authors found that youth with college-educated parents also experienced a decline in obesity. Due to the national sample limitations, the interaction of race+class was not tested.
Examining weight management as an equation of calories taken in versus calories expended, these findings indicate that lower income youth and/or youth with parents who had a high school education consumed more calories than their higher income peers and reported less recreational activity or exercise. Issues of transportation to markets that carry a wide variety of items including produce, budget limits and the lure of easy to prepare, tasty (but processed) foods all likely play a role in consumption habits, but that is only half of the equation. The authors note that in 2003, 86.6 percent of adolescent children with college-educated parents reported playing a sport or exercising for at least 20 minutes during the past 7 days compared to 79.8 percent of youth with high-school educated parents. In 2010, the gap in exercise/recreation time increased to 91 percent and 80.4 percent, respectively. Also, at a time when high school sport participation is at record levels, Frederick et al., point out that participation in school sports is declining among lower-income students.
Is income level a factor in youth recreation?
An article in ESPN the Magazine by Bruce Kelley and Carl Carchia dives into the data on youth sports participation, citing research from Dr. Don Sabo, Professor at D’Youville College and Co-Director of their Center for Research on Physical Activity, Sport & Health (CRPASH), that points to household income as the primary factor in how early a child begins playing sports. The article refers to Sabo’s work again in noting that low-income boys (27 percent) and low-income girls (17 percent) were among the least likely groups to be on multiple teams (3 or more) during grades 3 through 8. In addition, the report Progress Without Equity: The Provision of High School Athletic Opportunity in the United States, by Gender 1993-94 through 2005-06, published by the Women’s Sports Foundation (Dr. Sabo is a co-author), found differences in access to recreation, noting that opportunities for athletic participation for students was lowest among urban schools (compared to town, suburban and rural) during the research period.
Trend data indicate that the message to eat healthier and move more is making an impact, but perhaps only among certain social classes, particularly those with the resources to enroll their children in school and club sports. With childhood obesity linked to physical health risks as well as risk-taking behaviors such as drug and alcohol experimentation and conflicts with peers, is it time to lessen the focus on “awareness” and look at realistic ways to increase physical activity for all youth?
Social Sciences – Social Sciences – Biological Sciences – Medical Sciences: Carl B. Frederick, Kaisa Snellman, and Robert D. Putnam Increasing socioeconomic disparities in adolescent obesity PNAS 2014; published ahead of print January 13, 2014, doi:10.1073/pnas.1321355110
Sabo, D. and Veliz, P. (2011). Progress Without Equity: The Provision of High School Athletic Opportunity in the United States, by Gender 1993-94 through 2005-06. East Meadow, NY: Women’s Sports Foundation.
|February 2, 2014||Posted by M. P. under Behavorial Health, Drug and Alcohol, Federal Government, Research|
Last week the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced a new report containing a wealth of data on American’s behavioral health, both overall and at the state level. The National Behavioral Health Barometer looks at mental illness, alcohol dependency, illicit drug use, treatment rates and perceptions of the dangers of substance use. This timely trend and snapshot data – particularly those from the state reports – might be helpful for your upcoming grant writing, business planning, or community initiative proposals.
Highlights from the national report:
- In 2012, approximately 4 percent of adults had a severe mental illness the year prior to the survey.
- In 2012, more females 12 to 17 years old (13.7 percent) reported a major depressive episode in the year prior than males (4.7 percent), and 37 percent of youths received treatment for depression within the year prior to being surveyed.
- Between 2008 and 2012, cigarette use among youths (across all racial groups) declined from 9.2 to 6.6. percent.
- In 2012, people between 18 and 25 years of age reported the highest rate of alcohol dependence/abuse (14.3 percent). The rate of alcohol dependency of those over age 12 decreased overall between 2008 (7.4 percent) and 2012 (6.8 percent).
Highlights from the Pennsylvania report:
- The rate of adults in Pennsylvania having a severe mental illness in 2012 was the same as the national rate. The majority of adults served in the Commonwealth’s public mental health system were unemployed (70 percent) followed by those not in the workforce (20.6 percent). The percentages of both adults and youths reporting improvement after treatment in the public mental health system were lower than the national rate.
- Similar to the national level data, in 2012, 8.7 percent of Pennsylvania youth ages 12 to 17 reported a past year major depressive episode. 40.4 percent received treatment for depression during that time period.
- Although the percentage of Pennsylvania youth who smoke cigarettes declined since 2008, in 2012 it remained above the national rate – 8.8 percent compared to 7.2 percent. The mean age of first cigarette use among Pennsylvania youth was 14 years old.
- In 2012, 37.1 percent of Pennsylvania youth did not perceive great risk from smoking one or more packs of cigarettes daily, an increase from 2008 (34.3 percent) and above the national rate of 34.1 percent.
- Pennsylvania’s rate of alcohol dependency/abuse and rate of illicit drug dependency/abuse among people age 12 and over remained stable between the years of 2008-2012 and were similar to the national rates.
Copies of the national publication and all state reports are available for download at the SAMHSA website.
Photo Credit: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Behavioral Health Barometer: United States,2013. HHS Publication No. SMA-13-4796. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2013.
Report Citations: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Behavioral Health Barometer: United States,2013. HHS Publication No. SMA-13-4796. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2013.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Behavioral Health Barometer: Pennsylvania, 2013. HHS Publication No. SMA-13-4796PA. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2013.
|January 14, 2014||Posted by M. P. under Federal Government, Research, Uncategorized, Youth Development|
Childhood exposure to domestic and community violence has been linked to the development of PTSD, as well as depression and anxiety, and can negatively impact cognitive development and educational achievement. In addition, experiencing violence as a youth is considered a risk factor for delinquent behavior.
An October 2013 bulletin from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Protection takes a closer look at delinquency and victimization of juveniles, particularly where they overlap. In Children’s Exposure to Violence and the Intersection Between Delinquency and Victimization by Carlos A. Cuevas, David Finkelhor, Anne Shattuck, Heather Turner and Sherry Hamby, data from the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence is used to examine the association between the incidence of children’s direct exposure to crime and their reported delinquent activities.
Researchers categorized youth into three main groups, Delinquent-Victim, Primarily Delinquent, and Primarily Victim, based on reported delinquent acts and victimization (experiencing three or more criminal acts) in the past year. Additional within-group classifications allowed for distinctions to be made regarding the types of reported behaviors and victimizations. The key findings are summarized below.
- For boys, the Primarily Delinquent group made up 20.8 percent of the sample, the Delinquent-Victim group made up 18.1 percent and Primarily Victims 17.9 percent.
- For girls, the Primarily Victim group made up 21.2 percent of the sample, the Delinquent-Victim group made up 13.3 percent, and the Primarily Delinquent group 13 percent.
- Among both boys and girls, the Delinquent-Victim group engaged in more delinquency than their male and female peers in the Primarily Delinquent group (boys, 3.9 versus 2.5 activities, girls 3.3 versus 2.0).
- Both male and female Delinquent-Victim groups reported more victimization that their counterparts in the Primarily Victim groups (boys 6.3 versus 4.5 different victimizations, girls 6.4 versus 4.2). Male Delinquent-Victims had a higher percentage in every category of victimization (except bullying) compared to males in the Primarily Victim group. For girls, perhaps the most significant statistic is the high sexual victimization rate among the female Delinquent-Victim group (58%) compared to that of the female Primarily Victim group (27%).
The researchers found patterns in the growth or reduction of each group as children aged, although this study was not longitudinal. Their analysis indicates that male rates of delinquency-victimization peak at ages 13-14, while for females it occurs earlier, at ages 11-12. This suggests interventions at the grade school level may be more successful than those introduced during the teenage years.
|December 15, 2013||Posted by M. P. under Behavorial Health, Children and Family, Federal Government, Health, Research, Youth Development|
The 2013 report Diagnosis and Health Care Utilization of Children who are in Foster Care and Covered by Medicaid, from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) is loaded with useful data, including those showing a stark contrast in the prevalence of mental health diagnoses between Medicaid-covered youth in foster care and their peers outside the child welfare system. While recent research indicates that the increase in psychiatric diagnoses and office visit rates for U.S. youth outpace those of adults (based on comparison of data from the latter half of the 1990s and 2007-2010), mental illness and psychiatric disabilities appear to be more prevalent among children in foster care than in the general population (a trend also found in countries outside of the United States).
The SAMHSA report divides findings into age groups (and is available at their website in PDF form), but some of the overall trends include:
- Mental health diagnoses (49 percent) rates among foster care youth covered by Medicaid was higher in 2010 than their counterparts not in foster care (11 percent)
- Children in foster care had more outpatient visits and longer lengths of an average inpatient stay than those not in foster care
Among adolescents (ages 12-17):
- Attention-deficient, conduct and disruptive disorder were the most common diagnoses in 2010, occurring in 38 percent of foster care youth compared to 11 percent of their peers outside of foster care
- 40 percent of 12-17 years olds in foster care used prescription medication related to a mental health diagnosis
In light of these trends, it might be worth noting that a December 2012 report from the Government Accountability Office raised concerns to the Department of Health and Human Services’ over appropriate treatment of mental illness and use of prescribed psychiatric medication for children in Medicaid or in the foster care system (the majority also covered by Medicaid). Their report found that youth covered by Medicaid were twice as likely to take anti-psychotic medications than privately insured youth, but may not have received counseling or additional mental health treatment other than the medication.
Report Citation: Center for Mental Health Services and Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Diagnoses and Health Care Utilization of Children Who Are in Foster Care and Covered by Medicaid. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 13-4804. Rockville, MD: Center for Mental Health Services and Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2013.