Stats reflect poorly on children’s health

Ohio residents care deeply about the wellbeing of our children, but a recent report suggests that does not always translate to the way we take care of their health. In WalletHub’s ranking of 2021’s Best and Worst States for Children’s Health Care, Ohio was among the very worst — 44th in the nation.

As the rankings broke down further, Ohio was 39th in kids’ health and access to health care; a not-too-bad 17th in kids’ oral health; and an appalling 46th for kids’ nutrition, physical activity and obesity. In fact, examining that category more deeply, the state is 47th for the number of overweight children.

Authors of the study noted some positives, such as the very high percentage of those under age 18 who have health insurance, but even there commented the number of those covered by health insurance has not translated into lower health care costs for parents.

In fact, given the toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on our state’s economy, it is likely financial woes have much to do with the troubling findings in the study. But that does not mean throwing money at the problem will help. Certainly there is a federal effort to do so, with massive spending for health care and child care shoehorned into an infrastructure bill. That is not where it belongs.

We can do a better of job here at home of providing education and resources to parents, as families try to be more active, eat better, and make other healthy choices.

Ohio can’t afford to wait for the federal government to get its ducks in a row. Our kids are too important, and we know we can do better.


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