Sarah Alvarez

Earlier this year, Jacquise Purifoy had a problem many people are familiar with. Purifoy is an attorney, but she was between jobs and tangled in health insurance red tape, so she and her daughter went without health insurance for about half a year.

Purifoy admits she may have "buried her head in the sand," a little bit. She also says a combination of pride and a desire not to take up scarce government resources kept her from seeing if she could qualify her 17-year old daughter Jasmine for Medicaid or MIchild.

Purifoy thinks she probably could have qualified for one of these state and federally funded insurance programs that come at no-cost to the beneficiary. But instead she made sure to take her daughter for a full range of preventative doctor visits before her insurance ran out, and then just hoped there wouldn't be an emergency before she was insured again. 

Then she got a call from Jasmine, who has asthma and a heart condition. 

Steven River / flickr

Royal Oak based Beaumont Children's Hospital is trying to raise awareness about a kids health disparity that until now has not gotten much attention, the gap in food allergies. 

Food allergies in children are rising across the board, says Devang Doshi, the chief of Pediatric allergy and immunology at Beaumont Children's Hospital. "We used to see about 3% in the nineties, but now we're up to 6-8% of pediatric patients that have food allergies." says Doshi. 

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Earlier this month, we came across this article in the Washingtonian entitled "Children Are Dying." It blew our minds. Could babies really be dying in neonatal intensive care units across the country because of drug shortages? We decided to check it out for ourselves to see if it was happening in Michigan.

Sweden and US child descriptors
The Atlantic / Infogr.am

Reporting on a University of Connecticut study, The Atlantic prettied up data on how parents around the world describe describe their children.

Sarah Harkness and Charles Super, researchers in human development, found that, according to The Atlantic, "Not only are Americans far more likely to focus on their children's intelligence and cognitive skills, they are also far less likely to describe them as 'happy' or 'easy' children to parent." Harkness called this focus nearly obsessive in that it ignores other aspects of early childhood development.

Yesterday, the White House released its budget proposal for the coming fiscal year, and we got our first detailed look at how the President intends to pay for his plan to make preschool available to all four year olds in the country. Basically, he's going to make smokers pay for it.

First, some bullet points: 

Approximately 6.4 million children ages 4 through 17 have received a diagnosis of A.D.H.D at some point in their lives. According to this New York Times article, that's a 53 percent rise in the past decade. And which group tends to get diagnosed the most? Poor kids. Children covered by Medicaid "have among the highest rates of A.D.H.D. diagnoses: 14 percent for school-age children, about one-third higher than the rest of the population."

Influenza outbreak hits Michigan families hard

Jan 11, 2013
izahorsky / flickr.com

Here at State of Opportunity we write stories about children who are considered 'at risk'. We often correlate being 'at risk' with one's racial group or socioeconomic status, but sometimes it can refer to one's health. In the case of the flu, it doesn't matter if you're White or black, rich or poor, you're still at risk of getting sick.

Michigan to go with federal health exchange, for now

Nov 9, 2012
chickenlump / flickr

Tuesday night's election results not only offered President Barack Obama a second chance to get the economy moving, it also allowed his signature policy to stay in tact.

Even though the Affordable Care Act - aka Obamacare -  was modeled after Romney's own health care law in Massachusetts, the former Republican challenger vowed to begin efforts to repeal the bill his first day on the job.

A new study shows that heavy drinking during pregnancy has long-term affects on a child's brain growth and development. But the study, supported by the National Institutes of Health, also notes that an infant's environment likely plays a role in the abnormal brain development as well. Those findings could lead to the development of early treatments and interventions to correct or improve patterns of abnormality. You can read the full study here: http://www.jneurosci.org/content/32/44/15243.full

Childhood obesity rates show signs of improvement

Oct 26, 2012

Obesity rates among children have been on the rise for nearly 30 years. Today, almost a third of children are either overweight or obese. A change in the nutritional value of food served at schools seems to be reversing this trend, though. To learn about the impact this change has had on children across the country, read the article below.