Monday, November 10, 2008

Comparing health risks for rural and urban children

The risk of poor health, both physical and emotional, is often greater for rural children than those in metropolitan areas, reports the Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service. Children in poor rural households and those in poor urban households have different health risks, with rural children often more likely to suffer from allergies and injuries, the report says. However, "Children in poor metro households are 1.7 times more likely to miss school due to injury or illness than children in near-poor metro households," writes Tracey Farrigan for Amber Waves, the ERS newsletter.

Low-income parents in rural areas were more likely than those in metro areas "to report their children’s general health as being excellent or very good (72 percent versus 65 percent)," Farrigan reports. "They were also more likely to score their children worse on individual indicators of health." Urban students from poor families are twice as likely to face safety concerns at school (4 percent versus 2 percent), and their parents are more likely to say neighbors would not help if their child was hurt (10.5 percent versus 6.6 percent). Poor rural children also spend more time caring for themselves and have greater exposure to tobacco usage -- 47 percent, compared to 35 percent in uran areas. (Read more)

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