WUOMFM

health

New documentary on growing up in poverty and pollution

Apr 21, 2014
abandoned toy in dump
Geraint Rowland / Flickr

Reports about pollution and environmental degradation can easily seem like something that happens somewhere else.

And when the impact isn't visible on the surface, the health effects can go unchecked and be devastating for children.

In a new State of Opportunity documentary airing this Thursday, Michigan Radio's Lester Graham, looks at the impact of environmental pollution on children who live in poverty. 

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.

At first, the news from the Census Bureau today seems really good. The agency's most recent report on poverty and health coverage shows that poverty has held steady and health insurance coverage has increased.

Hey, I'll take it because it's always good and increasingly rare, to see numbers going in the right direction.

But the numbers are still really high. Fifteen percent of the country's population is living in poverty, and 15.7 percent is uninsured.

Who decides which child health concerns matter most?

Aug 21, 2012
insipidlife / flickr

Doctors and public health professionals certainly have a lot to say about children's health, and parent's do too. But how do these concerns translate into policies or programs tasked with doing something to make kids healthier? Well-that's more of a free for all.

Every year, the University of Michigan's C. S. Mott Children's Hospital does a survey on childhood health concerns. They ask adults, both parents and non-parents alike, to state their health concerns for the children in their community. This year, lack of exercise was number one on the list of top-ten child health concerns.  Obesity and smoking rounded out the top three health concerns for kids.

But do these adults really know what the concerns for kids are? Certainly, there are a lot of kids who are not exercising regularly? About 50% of kids in Michigan do not exercise regularly, according to Kids Count, making it partly responsible for the rise in obesity (which stands around 30% for kids in the state). A lack of healthy food or even just eating school lunches are also partly to blame for obesity.