We all want our kids to be healthy! It appears that the state of Vermont is doing very well towards making that hope a reality. Data gathered by the Centers for Disease Control about the Green Mountain State shows that Vermont has the healthiest kids in America. How does what Vermont is doing compare to your state?
The Centers for Disease Control’s Data Resource Center released a survey called The National Survey of Children’s Health. It took the results of the survey and presented them in a way that made it more accessible to parents (as well as other researchers and community health providers).
The survey was conducted between 2010 and 2012 by telephone in English and in Spanish. A total of 95,677 surveys were completed nationally for children between the ages of 0 and 17 years of age. One purpose of the survey is to estimate national and state-level prevalence for a variety of physical, emotional, and behavioral child health indicators in combination with information on the child’s family context and neighborhood environment.
Vermont was at the top of the list. Fewer than one in four children in Vermont are overweight or obese. Over 81 percent of kids in Vermont have access to medical and dental care. Nearly 99 percent have health insurance coverage. A total of one-third of Vermont children report exercising at least 20 minutes a day.
What is the state of Vermont doing that brings these wonderful results? One factor has to do with the size of the state. It is smaller than many. It also has a population that has been described as “prosperous”. This enables the state of Vermont officials to reach out to potentially vulnerable children and to help them get what they need in order to be healthy.
Vermont also has a Dr. Dynasaur program. It was created in 1989 and covered tens of thousands of low-income children before the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) existed. Dr. Dynasaur is part of the state’s Green Mountain Care (or Medicaid) program. It provides low-cost or free health coverage for kids and teens under age 19. It also provides the same for pregnant women.
Vermont has also made an effort to build partnerships between public and private institutions in an effort to promote children’s health. These efforts focus on the family. Some programs include the Vermont Child Health Improvement Program, Children’s Integrated Services, and Blueprint for Health.
In some areas, a few other states are doing better than Vermont. Kids in West Virginia, Missouri, Tennessee, and Oklahoma are getting more exercise than children in Vermont do. Hawaii and Massachusetts each insure a greater proportion of their children than Vermont does. Kids in Utah and Colorado are even less likely to be obese or overweight than kids who live in Vermont.
Image by Jasleen Kaur on Flickr.