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Dallas County Kids Not Doing So Well, Says New Report

Yesterday, Children's Medical Center, in conjunction with the Coalition for North Texas Children, released its biennial quality-of-life report on the nearly 700,000 children living in Dallas County, and so far, I can find only one story about it -- this piece from KTVT-Channel 11's Steve Pickett. Regardless, Beyond ABC: Growing Up in Dallas County is a compelling read full of what Children's calls in its press release some "startling findings," chief among them the fact that "the rate of infant mortality in Dallas County has reached a 10-year high, which experts attribute to several factors, including barriers to prenatal care and health insurance."

And that's just the beginning of the bad news.

Here are a few of the report's other troubling findings: "The rate of low-birthweight babies continues to outpace the national average and is at an all-time high; one in five children is uninsured and has limited access to healthcare; more than one-third of children in Dallas County are considered overweight or obese; and about 160,000 children live in poverty (family annual income of $20,000 or less for family of four in 2006)."

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On the plus side, "the percent of 2-year-olds who are fully immunized has more than doubled since 1991; the number of children enrolled in Head Start or public school kindergarten has tripled; and child homicide declined from 109 deaths in 1992 to 37 deaths in 2004."

Yeah, that's part of the good news -- child homicide's down.

Says Dr. Rashmin Savani, director of Perinatal-Neonatal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center and chief of Neonatology-Perinatology at Children's, the report says nothing les than "as providers and as citizens of Dallas County...we must do better for our children." You can read the entirety of the report here. --Robert Wilonsky

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